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[e-drug] India to help Nigeria tackle the import of fake drugs

E-drug: India to help Nigeria tackle the import of fake drugs
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BMJ  326:1234 (7 June 2003)

India agrees to help Nigeria tackle the import of fake drugs
Lagos Abiodun Raufu 

India, one of the largest exporters of fake and substandard drugs to
Nigeria, has agreed to take measures to tackle the problem. It is
concerned about Nigeria's threat to ban the import of all drugs from
countries that export fake drugs to its shores. 

The Indian minister of state for commerce and industry, Mr Shri Rajiv
Pratap Rudy, visited Nigeria last week and said that his government
had introduced inspections to stop the export of fake drugs to Nigeria. 

"India is one of the largest exporters of pharmaceuticals into Nigeria,"
he said, "and Indian pharmaceutical companies are constantly in
touch with Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drugs
Administration and Control [NAFDAC] and have institutionalised
pre-export inspection in India to control export of substandard drugs
to Nigeria." 

He continued: "We have taken note of the quality of pharmaceuticals,
and inspection agencies have taken steps to ensure that substandard
products do not get out of the country. We are working with NAFDAC
to ensure that these products are not exported out of India. A check
has been put in place." 

India also promised to send the agency a list of blacklisted Indian
drug manufacturers and companies involved in fake products. 

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria said that at least 70% of the
drugs in circulation in Nigeria are fake and that most imported fake
and substandard drugs in Nigeria come from India, China, Pakistan,
Egypt, and Indonesia. 

Nigerian health experts say that fake and substandard drugs in the
country have been endangering health and have resulted in several
deaths. 

NAFDAC's chief executive, Dr Dora Akunyili, said that fake drugs
were responsible for the growing number of cases of hypertension,
heart failure, stroke, and other illnesses in Nigeria. 

"When people are taking fake or substandard antihypertension drugs,
their blood pressure will continue to rise - because what they are
taking is rubbish - until they go down with stroke or even die," she
said. "Some of these fake drugs contain nothing. Some of them
contain chalk, milk in capsules, and some of them contain little of the
active ingredients." 
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