New Telegraph

Indians dump $1.60bn substandard drug in Nigeria

  • Meeting scheduled to forestall diplomatic row

 

Despite complaints and restriction by the Federal Government to curb importation of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, some Indian pharmaceutical firms have dumped $1.60billion substandard drugs in Nigerian market in the last two years.

Worried by the influx of fake drugs after several warnings, Indian Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) has called for a meeting with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to be held today.

The agency had accused the Indian drug makers and exporters of indulging in un}ethical and unprofessional practices. Findings revealed that pharmaceutical exports to Nigeria in FY’22 stood $588.59 million; FY’21, $573.17 million and FY’20, $443.09 million.

 

The Director-General of Pharmexcil, Ravi Uday Bhaskar, said stakeholders in Indian pharma industry, especially exporters, would participate in the meeting with NAFDAC, saying that the meeting followed the Nigerian regulator’s accusation of India pharmaceutical manufacturers/exporters of indulging in unethical and unprofessional practices in connivance with Nigerian importers.

 

Pharmexcil had earlier this month alerted members about the communication from NAFDAC flagging issues with regard to the product package design.

 

Pharmexcil’s director general said that the meeting to seek more details from the Nigerianofficialswasimportant given that the African nation has been figuring in top 5-6 pharma export destinations of India.

 

He explained that Nigeria was the first country that introduced pre-shipment analysis about 10 years ago. About 10 years ago, it had appointed an agency in Mumbai to test samples.

 

Bhaskar had urged member companies to adhere to NAFDAC directions for hassle-free exports, explaining that NAFDAC had said a moratorium of six months had been approved for manufacturers to clear every consignment that violated the approved formulations and package designs.

 

“Any violative product that is boarded on airlines or shipping vessels from November 1, 2022 will be confiscated upon arrival in Nigeria and any erring importer and manufacturer/exporter will be subjected to strict penalties, sanctions, product de-registration and consequent blacklisting,” the agency had warned.

 

It would be recalled that in May, lastyear, theFederalGovernment gave approval that import duty should be waived for medical equipment and supplies to strengthen health infrastructure in response to COVID19. The import duty waiver covers medical equipment, disinfectants and medical consumables.

 

However, NAFDAC had complained that importation of so many products, particularly drugs had negative impact on the nation’s economy. The Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, expressed concerns in Abuja that Nigeria had depended so much on foreign goods, noting that the only water was not imported by pharmacists into the country.

 

She said recently that COVID- 19 had caused increase in prices of imported goods as the country has neglected local industries and local production.

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