Medical experts reveal how Nigerians are often exposed to the dangers of banned drugs

It has been revealed by the Joy Institute, a Nigerian non-governmental organisation, that many doctors in Nigeria are victims of the operations of deceitful indigenous drug marketers, as well as their own inability to stay up-to-date with the latest global information on drugs. Thus, they go on to prescribe and administer medicines that have been banned in other parts of the world to their trustful patients. This disclosure was made at the Continuing Development Programme organised by the NGO in Owerri, Imo State on February 22nd.

According to a coordinator at the institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Nwakuche, the manufacturers of this class of drugs have stopped their production, but local marketers continue to adulterate and sell them, thereby putting the general public in harm’s way. The Joy Institute identifies this problem with banned drugs as a core obstruction to healthcare delivery in Nigeria.

The Nigerian healthcare system is plagued with the endless circulation of substandard or fake drugs by peddlers. An issue which reportedly has its roots in 1986, following former President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida’s implementation of structural adjustment which saw the Nigerian economy – and the booming pharmaceutical business – take a fatal hit.

Last year, NOIPolls revealed that about 18 percent of Nigerians were victims of counterfeit and substandard medicines and a major culprit is the inability of drug purchasers to distinguish authentic drugs from fake ones. Also, the lack of immediate visible negative effects makes it easy for these poisonous substances to thrive in markets. In 2014, published a list of drugs that were no longer in use around the world, but were still on sale in Nigeria, including Procold, Furacin, and Buta.

On February 20, 2016, the Vice President for Global Health Impact Programmes in Africa, Dr. Patrick Lukulay, posited in an article, that the increase in common and life threatening drug-resistant diseases in Africa, such as tuberculosis and malaria, is largely related to the production, sale, prescription and use of drugs that are of inferior quality. Medical experts at the Continuing Development Programme urged medical practitioners to work together to keep Nigerians safe from the risks of banned drugs and maintain medical rules and standards.

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