The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned against hawking of drugs in Nigeria, saying apart from selling substandard or expired drugs, they (hawkers) also supply narcotics to criminal networks.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the official flag-off of the agency’s media sensitisation workshop on dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbides.
Ms Adeyeye, who described drug hawkers as “merchants of deaths,” said the menace of drug hawking poses a serious challenge to the country’s healthcare delivery system and that it underscores the agency’s resolute determination to eradicate the illicit trade.
She said most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-illiterate hawkers are counterfeit, substandard, or expired, and therefore do not meet the quality, safety, and efficacy requirements of regulated medicines.
She explained that prescription drugs are also sold by the itinerant hawkers who “hold consultations, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible patients.”
“Many drug hawkers are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of death who expose essential and life-saving medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather which degrade the active ingredients of the medicine and turn them to poisons, thus endangering human lives,” she said.
Ms Adeyeye said drug hawkers are also major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as armed bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, and armed robbers.
She said drug hawkers constitute a serious threat to national security.
She noted that drugs are sensitive life-saving commodities which should not be sold on the streets, motor parks, or open markets just like any other article of trade.
She said any drug hawker arrested by NAFDAC will be prosecuted and face a jail term.
“I wish to warn that any drug hawker arrested by NAFDAC will be prosecuted, will face a jail term, and our enforcement officers are currently carrying out synchronised nationwide operation,” she said.
“No offender will be spared from facing the full wrath of the law. In this regard, we solicit the cooperation and support of all other law enforcement agencies, Nigerian journalists and well-meaning Nigerians in ridding the country of this harmful and shameful practice.”
SOURCE: Premium Times