The Federal Government has said it will introduce Drug Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) across the nation to check the menace of fake and falsified medical products in the country even as it warned that by 31st of December 2018 all open drug markets will be permanently shutdown.
Prof Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, made this known at a stakeholders’ workshop organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on “The prevention, Detection and Response of Substandard and Falsified medical Products”.
The Minister said the new measure was designed to allow drugs to be sourced directly from the importers or manufacturers down to the end users instead of buying drugs from the open drug markets.
According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health had already developed National Drug Distribution Guidelines, NDDG, in 2012 to address the unsatisfactory chaotic drug distribution system in the country.
He said; “Coordinated Wholesale Centres to accommodate open market medicines sellers have been approved and are being developed in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano and CWCs will commence operation by January 1st 2019.”
Adewole observed that medicine is an important component of healthcare delivery service and without the infusion of medicines the health care service delivery system of a nation is sterile.
“A good-quality medicine supply system is essential for healthcare delivery. There is a special need to prevent therapeutic drug falsification in order to safeguard against health and maintain trust in healthcare system. The overall scale of trading in medicine and the resultant harm done to global health has not been adequately accessed.”
In his address, Mr. Ademola Mogbojuri, the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, noted that the public health implications of substandard and falsified medical products are dire, raising the alarm that the problem has become a serious threat to global public health .
Stating that single and isolated interventions cannot address the issue of substandard falsified medical products, he called for coordinated actions with international organisations to reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of the ugly menace.
Declaring the workshop open, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who noted that the number of lives lost as a result of substandard medical product in the market was alarming blamed the unacceptable situation to weakness of regulatory bodies charged with the responsibility of nipping the act in the bud.
Ambode said the capacity building workshop on prevention, detection and response to substandard and falsified medical products would improve the effectiveness of measures that have been put in place to achieve these objectives.
He said: “It is important to emphasize that this fight must be holistic in terms of participation by all relevant government agencies including custom service standard organisation of Nigeria and the Nigeria police among others. “Our efforts must also focus on identifying the sources of these products with a view to ensuring that they do not find their way into the market.”