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Pharmacies, hawkers major sources of illicit drugs

Pharmacies and chemists have emerged as the main points of purchase of fake drugs and medicines in the country.

This is a according to findings by a regional polling agency, which suggested drug hawkers are the second main source of the illicit items.

According to NOIPOlls, 68 percent of locals cited independent pharmacy/chemist and 14 percent cited drug hawkers as the main source of illegal drugs and medicines.

Poll results released revealed that 18 percent of Nigerians say they have personally been victims of fake, counterfeit and substandard pharmaceutical products, medicines and drugs; and of those that have been victims

“While these figures represent the perceptions of Nigerians, pharmaceutical experts’ suggest that many Nigerians may not be aware they have been victims of fake pharmaceutical products, especially in the absence of obvious negative effects,” the agency stated.

The poll results further indicated that the effects of fake drugs can be experienced in various dimensions depending on the ingredients that make up the counterfeit drugs thus leading to clues for the identification of fake drugs by users.

About one-third (35 percent) of the respondents who have been victims were only able to identify that the drugs were fake when there was ‘no improvement in health at the completion of dosage’, followed by 29 percent who cited ‘adverse reaction.’

More findings from the poll revealed that about one-third (33 percent) of respondents who have been victims ‘took no action’; however 32 percent claimed they ‘discarded/destroyed the drugs’ upon realising they were fake.

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of February 16. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample.

A total of 1 000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country were interviewed.

The poll came in the background of fake pharmaceutical products, medicines and drugs are a threat to public health and are part of the broader incident of substandard pharmaceuticals – medicines manufactured below established standards of character and are therefore dangerous to patients’ health and ineffective for the handling of any disease.

It causes distress and deaths that some experts regard as attempted murder, while the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) refer to it as “the greatest evil of our time and the highest weapon of terrorism against public health, as well as an act of economic sabotage.

Source: News24 Nigeria
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