… Advise public to beware of unlicensed dealers
Pharmacists in Lagos have commended the medical alert by the Federal Ministry of Health on the circulation of two fake versions of Quinine Sulphate, an anti-malaria drug.
According to these professionals, who are the last channels of drug-remedies to the public, they said that it was a move to guard the public against health complications which may arise by consuming fake drugs.
The alert came in through a statement, which was signed by the Director, Media and Public Relation of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Boade Akinola.
The statement said that the falsified versions of the drugs contained zero active pharmaceutical ingredients and were in circulation in some parts of Africa.
It explained that though there was no evidence of the drugs in Nigeria, the public should report to nearby NAFDAC offices if the drugs were spotted anywhere, be it hospitals or pharmacist shops.
Director, Media and Public Relation of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Boade Akinola stated that one of the fake drugs is Quinine Sulphate 300mg with 1000 Tablets per container, Batch Number 10H05, expiry date 09/2018 and it was manufactured 09/2014; and the other drug version, Quinine Sulphate 300mg with 100 Tablets per container, batch F4387, expiry date 11/18 and its date of manufacture is 12/14.
She said Quinine Sulphate was used in the treatment of malaria but the falsified versions would not be effective and may also lead to other health challenges.
“If you are in possession of these products, please do not use them,” she said.
Immediate past Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, (ACPN) Lagos State, and owner Kardinal Pharmacy, Lagos, Mr. Aminu Yinka, noted that fake malaria drugs if taken could be dangerous over time and advised the general public to be cautious of where they buy their medicines and ensure they are from registered pharmaceutical stores for the benefit of their health and safety.
Aminu said, “When someone has malaria, he needs a cure. If he or she takes a fake drug, he shouldn’t expect to get well because this medicine does not have the active ingredients that will deal with the malaria parasites in the body. A medicine which is supposed to have ninety-percent of the active ingredients is having just twenty-percent; the medicine will not work.
“Fake medicines have components which even harm the body instantly or over a time. When you take less than what is required of the active components to fight malaria, you are encouraging the parasites to develop resistant. The drug will administer no relief. You assume you have taken medicine but you haven’t. It can further cause complications that will lead you to the hospital. You will waste a lot of money,” he said.
The Kogi-born pharmacist emphasized that the public were exposed to serious medicine abuse, as he advised government to make collaborative effort with health professionals to stop unlicensed drug dealers who were not complying with regulators in order to lessen further challenges.
Another Pharmacist, Mrs. Titilayo Oyewole, of Bukola Pharmacy, Lagos, said that the custom officers who are at the borders need to be vigilant because it is from there that these drugs come into the country.
“Doctors should also be at alert because they are the ones who prescribe drugs to patients. They should give them the accurate prescriptions for malaria. Some people are illiterate and they may not know much about drugs.
“The media should also endeavour to make people know about it so people won’t make any mistake of buying the drugs that will harm their body system,” she said.
A pharmacist at Civic Pharmacy, Alimosho, who did not want his name in print, said, “people should buy their drugs in registered pharmaceutical stores.”
A medical doctor, Broad Hospital Ikotun-Lagos, Mr. Sylvester Ogbeve, warned the public against the usage of fake medicines saying that they should confirmed authenticity of drugs before usage.
He said, “Any time you get a drug from any pharmacy, there is a scratch code at the back of the medicine. Endeavour to scratch the silver panel and text the code to the appropriate authority to confirm the authenticity of the drug. Be sure that the pharmacy store you are patronizing is known for selling genuine drugs.”
Ogbeve lauded the effort of the ministry and NAFDAC for been pro-active and admonished them to keep up the good work and ensure that they screen all drugs that come into the country.