Most people who live in developing countries (also known as third world countries) are at risk of purchasing a fake medication at least five times a year.
The sales of such potentially harmful medicines that are also of inferior quality have been repeatedly blamed on greed, poverty, and corrupt government, but at the end of the day, the damage it does to the larger society affects every person one way or another.
Asides the sales of fake drugs in Nigeria and other third world nations, there is also the problem of Chinese quacks who peddle counterfeit supplements in the guise of providing jobs for the masses and promoting healthy living.
The wild nature of fake drugs in the Nigerian drug market has made several medical bodies, as well as the common man question the credibility of the Nigerian health sector. There are several risks associated with the sales of fake drugs and supplements around the world; some of them are disabilities, illnesses, and even death.
What exactly are fake drugs?
Fake drugs or medications are also known as counterfeit drugs, and they can be defined as any pharmaceutical preparations or medicines that are illegally produced or that are possibly contaminated or contain the wrong chemical composition or no active ingredient at all.
Sometimes some of the fake medicines have the right active ingredient but at the challenge is the wrong dose. As mentioned earlier, counterfeit drugs are illegal and may be dangerous to your health.
The effect of fake drugs on the Nigerian nation and her citizenry can never be overemphasized. The purpose of this article is to provide the general public with a vivid picture of the consequences and damages of the lax in drug regulation in developing countries especially in the African continent and in Nigeria to be particular.
The Nigerian government and health sector are making efforts to intensify the fight against fake drugs and all counterfeit products, and this article is our tiny piece of contribution to the quest for a safer and healthier society.
The statistics of fake drugs in Africa and Nigeria at present
- Nigeria is known as the world’s largest market place for fake and counterfeit medication among third world nations of the world according to statistics from NAFDAC
- Every year, more than 120,000 Africans die from the use of Fake Malaria drugs
- 10- 30% of medications and pharmaceutical products that are sold in developing countries like Nigeria are fakes and counterfeits
- India and China have been identified as the major manufacturers and suppliers of fake and counterfeit drugs in the world.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as much as 16% of all fake/counterfeit drugs sold in Nigeria contain the wrong active ingredient
- About 33 % of all anti-malarial drugs which are sold in patent medicine stores, clinics, pharmacies, and hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa are counterfeit.
- Recent research which evaluated the quality of drugs sold around the world found that overall, 9.1% of medications worldwide failed the primary quality control tests. It was also reported by the study that the rate of drug failure in Africa was 16.6%, which is about one in every six pills.
- Per the International Criminal Policing Association popularly known as (Interpol), the use of fake and counterfeit drugs is responsible for the death of 1 million people per year.
- More than 30% of counterfeit drugs that are currently being consumed universally are nothing but placebos and do not have any active ingredients whatsoever in them.
- As at the year 2014, a total of 10,603 websites were responsible for the sales of counterfeit medicines on the internet.
List of fake drugs in Nigeria and how to identify them
Below is a relevant list of the drugs most frequently counterfeited by Indian and Chinese companies, usually with the active connivance of Nigerians and other Africans. You may be shocked to find some of the medications you frequently use on this list.
- Beecham Ampiclox – Check the pack for authentication code.
- Augumentin 625mg- Beecham – Check the pack for authentication code
- Fansider – Fansider in Nigeria is now called Swider. Check the pack for authentication code.
- Amalar – From Elbe altogether avoid or check the pack for authentication code before you purchase.
- Quinine Sulphate 300mg, with the Batch Number: F4387, is manufactured by Novadina Pharmaceutical Ltd and completely fake.
- Buscopan – Any Buscopan you use that does not taste bitter and also feels like chalk is likely to be cassava powder. Talk to your pharmacist.
- Fucin tablet – Go for trusted brands that come with codes as many fake products are in the Nigerian drug market.
- Viagra – The Nigerian market is flooded with fakes and counterfeits varieties so patronize only registered and reputable pharmacies. The Pharmaceutical Security Institute had reported that 37% of all fake medicines that get seized are erectile dysfunction drugs, and it comes as no shock that Viagra is now the second most counterfeited medication in the world.
- Fubact -A cream – This is one of the most purchased antibacterial creams in Nigeria. When you buy it, look out for inconsistencies and reject anyone that has a funny smell, spelling or inscriptions.
- Coartem – The active ingredients on the sachet of a fake Coartem pack is wrongly spelled as artmethe/umfantrne. The use of counterfeit Coartem tablets may lead to poisoning (as a result of toxic substances), treatment failure, development of resistance, and even death of the user.
List of Non-ACT anti-malaria medications banned in other countries but still in circulation In Nigeria and African countries include:
- Alaxin 60mg tablet (dihydroartémisinine)
- Alaxin oral suspension (dihydroartémisinine)
- Amodiaquine 200mg
- Arinate 100mg tablet (artésunate)
- Arinate 50mg tablet (artésunate)
- Arsumax 50mg tablet (artésunate)
- Artemax 60mg tablet (dihydroartémisinine)
- Artémédine 40mg capsule (artemether)
- Artémédine 50mg tablet (artemether)
- Artenam 50mg tablet (artemether)
- Artenam 60mg tablet (artemether)
- Artésiane 300mg child powder oral suspension (artemether)
- Artésunate 100mg compressed
- Artésunate 50mg tablet
- Artexin 60mg tablet (dihydroartémisinine)
- Camoquin 200mg tablet (amodiaquine)
- Camoquin 200mg tablet (amodiaquine)
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