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The production and sale of counterfeit drugs is definitely a global problem. But the sad side of this problem is that it can never be discussed without our beloved country “Nigeria” popping up. And that was exactly what happened at the 63rd World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva.

You can still recall the “My Pikin” saga and all the “Pikins”* whose lives it ended in a rather tragic albeit inexplicable manner. Now, with over 8 years of constant raiding and burning of seized drugs, Nigerians simply rely on God to help them choose correctly when buying medicines with their hard earned money.

Before examining the outcome of the 63rd WHA and what progressive countries are doing about fake drugs, would it be out of place to know what is happening to the war against fake drugs since Professor Dora Akunyili left NAFDAC?

It hurts to think that sometimes a tree can actually make a forest. But that is almost becoming the truth about NAFDAC and the war against counterfeit drugs in Nigeria. Even though many of us who argued that Professor Akunyili’s tactics in prosecuting the war would not yield any sustainable result, the war right now appears to have gone to the bed as most Nigerians can’t even remember who the current NAFADAC DG is, let alone feel his presence.

Dr.Paul Orhil,NAFDAC DG:Sir this war needs some verve and creativity and we are yet to be convinced your agency has an effective strategy to prosecute it.

Well,just in case you are one of those who don’t know him and can’t feel him either, the current Director-General of NAFDAC is Dr Paul Orhii.If his doctorate degree in medicine is anything to go bye, we would have seen a renewed vigour in the fight against counterfeit drugs. Or is it too early to start asking questions?

While you are trying to make up your mind, lest find out what’s news about counterfeit drugs.

The World Health Organisation(WHO) during the 63rd WHA promised to assist Nigeria deal with the issue of counterfeit drugs. But my take is, would it be a lasting solution beyond giving loans and sending experts to access how these drugs get into the country and make recommendations on how to block such routes?

Drug counterfeiting we gather often involves expensive hormones, steroids and anti-cancer medicines and pharmaceuticals related to lifestyle in developed countries. But in developing countries, especially Africa, counterfeit medicines are commonly available to treat life-threatening conditions such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

So, you can appreciate why there must not be any lull as we make plans to wage a sustainable war against this enemy beyond the drama of raiding Alaba and Onitsha markets, seizing goods worth millions of naira and burning them for the next day’s cover headline.

Recently, we gathered that mPedigree a Ghanaian SME is working towards providing a sustainable solution to the problem which Nigeria is still struggling to overcome.

This is how the mpedigree concept works

Pharmaceutical companies will emboss  a special codes on drug packaging that are recorded in mPedigree’s database. When you  purchase a drug, you scratch off a panel(like the type on a recharge card) to reveal the unique code and send it via text message to a universal four-digit number. The request is routed to mPedigree’s servers, located in New Hampshire. After sending the code, consumers get a response by text, usually within five seconds, indicating whether the product is genuine or fake.
I hope Dr. Orhii is keeping tab of this cheering trend?

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