By Daniels Ekugo
The Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products (CACCP) an umbrella body in conjunction with Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NiroPharm) and Pfizer is leading the charge in seeking collaborations between relevant stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry in the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.
To this end, CACCP invited relevant stakeholders in Nigeria to the inaugural forum of the Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products to discuss the way forward in the fight against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products on the 28th of November, 2022 at the Protea Hotel by Marriot in Ikeja.
The convener, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya (YBO) while speaking on what informed his decision to form the coalition, said “It is borne out of the desire to take a firmer stand against counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria through engagement and advocacy, with hope to kick off an intense national advocacy campaign against counterfeit pharmaceutical products.”
Olayinka Subair West Africa Country Manager at Pfizer commented “Counterfeit medicines don’t cure any disease, rather they put patients’ health at risk because of their contents, it ultimately impedes the Nigerian Healthcare System. Lives are lost and medical conditions worsened due to this cankerworm. It is not an individual’s battle; it requires collective effort.”
He emphasized that “Nigerians need to champion the anti-counterfeit cause, especially as regards healthcare. We need to join hands together because there is no shortcut with health. Due process must be followed to get the best results. Unlike commodities, fake drugs are life-threatening. This means patients should only buy prescribed medicines from accredited pharmacies and not quacks or roadside vendors.”
A recent report by Punch Newspaper noted that the prevalence of fake drugs is a menace to over 200 million people in Nigeria 1.
Femi Soremekun, NIROPHARM President stated “In recent years, the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical products has taken new dimensions due to the global influx of counterfeiting syndicates, it is like a race against time for pharmaceutical companies – the cost to our collective health and economies is enormous.
Over the years, pharmaceutical companies are perplexed as to how best to nip the challenges in the bud. The challenges are overwhelming owing to the sophistication of the activities of counterfeiters.
Combating counterfeit pharmaceutical products is a herculean task, one that requires strong collaborations between government agencies and key stakeholders because of the impact.”
For most African Nations, combating counterfeit pharmaceutical products is even more challenging due to the lack of synergy between key stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry and government agencies.
To combat the illicit trade of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, there is a strong need for collaboration. Stakeholders must look beyond the surface which is most times in-ward – they must look at the root cause which in most cases boils down to (Identity) or patent, what marks counterfeit from original pharmaceutical products.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in a recent study titled “Trade in Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products” opined that “The consequences for the economy and for citizens are serious. Trade in counterfeit goods not only damages economic growth but also undermines good governance, the rule of law and citizens’ trust in government, and can ultimately threaten political stability. In addition, in some cases, such as that of fake pharmaceuticals, counterfeit goods can have serious health and safety implications for citizens.