Pharmacists and other stakeholders in the North-East have called for more awareness campaign to combat circulation of counterfeit and falsified pharmaceuticals in the country.
The experts said the call was imperative to educate the people on the dangers of fake drugs and safeguard public health.
They spoke while responding to a survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on circulation of fake drugs and chemicals in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola.
A pharmacist in Yobe, Mr Madu Ali said effective strategies were necessary to strengthen drug regulatory agencies to enable them to combat circulation of falsified drugs in the country.
He defined fake drug as any drug that do not contain active ingredients, but packaged to look like a genuine product.
The expert listed the effects of fake drugs to include disease progression, organ failure and prolong duration of treatment.
Ali, also the Head, Pharmaceutical Services, Specialists’ Hospital, Damaturu, said strengthening the agencies would enhance their operations to ensure that only genuine drugs were in circulation in the country.
“If you strengthen the drugs management agencies, you will improve their capabilities from mere physical inspection of drug colors to full-fledged laboratory investigation,” he said.
He said there was an urgent need to ban drug hawking and caution members of the public against patronizing open drug markets.
Ali noted that although many suspected fake drugs were in circulation, the anomaly could only be confirmed by a formal research.
Recounting her ordeal; Mrs Josephine Audu, a victim of fake drugs in Gombe State, urged NAFDAC to intensify campaign to check circulation of counterfeit drugs and chemicals in the country.
Audu noted that fake drugs caused adverse side effects rather than providing remedy to diseases.
“I took a brand of Septrin tablet and developed skin rashes afterwards.
“I alongside six other females became ill and hospitalized after using the drug,” and urged relevant authorities to step up campaign to curb the menace.