Speech By The Director-General (NAFDAC) Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye At The Destruction Exercise Of Banned And Unregistered Tramadol And Other Counterfeit Medicines And Unwholesome Re-Bagged Sugarat Okediya Dump Site Sagamu, Ogun State On The 29th June, 2018

Protocol

Your Excellency, the first Lady of Ogun State- Dr Olufunsho Amosun and her entourage, Representatives of Sister Agencies, Our Stakeholders, NAFDAC staff here present, members of the Press, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

I am delighted to welcome you all to this destruction exercise, which is a testimony to NAFDAC’s zero tolerance to Narcotics,Substandard and Falsified and other unsafe and unwholesome NAFDAC Regulated Products into circulation in Nigeria.

The products being destroyed today are made up of Tramadol,  Codeine, illegally imported Unwholesome Sugar (different brands) and Counterfeit medicines. Also included are damaged and expired NAFDAC Regulated products voluntarily submitted to the Agency by compliant companies.

The total street value of the products being destroyed is about Three Billion, Five Hundred and Eight Million, Five Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Sixty-two Naira (N3,508,550,762.00).  The street value of tramadol that is being destroyed today is estimated to be N1,708,750,000.00.

We wish to emphasise that only 50mg and 100mg of Tramadol are approved for use in Nigeria. NAFDACs Inspection, Investigation and Enforcement activities have however, exposeda cartel that specializes in the importation of banned strengths of Tramadol (strengths above 100mg). The banned strengths have deleterious effects on vital organs of the body including the brain.

Its use has ruined the lives of many promising youths who should have been the future and asset of our beloved country.

So far, thirteen containers of banned and unregistered Tramadol and Diclofenac released to the Agency by the Nigerian Customs Service are scheduled for destruction today.

Just last week, the Agency secured a conviction at the Federal High Court, Lagos where one Mr Ezeanwu Ifeanyi was sentenced to 5 years in prison with option of fine of N300,000.00 for being in possession of Tramadol. There are three other Tramadol cases (FRN vs Monday Okorie, FRN vs Ukwoka Emmanuel and FRN vs Ifeanyi Chukwu) pending at various Federal High Courts.

Let me thank the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for their collaboration and co-operation in this regard.We also appreciate the Judiciary for the timely disposal of the recent cases on Tramadol and banned/prohibited NAFDAC Regulated products.

We use this medium to appeal to the National Assembly to speed-up the amendment to our laws to address the dangerous trend of Counterfeiting and destruction of innocent lives.

A situation where a convict is sentenced to 2years in prison with an option of the maximum statutory fine of five hundred thousand is a nudge on the counterfeiters not even a slap. We call for stiffer sentencing, confiscation of the assets of the convict and adequate compensation of the victim(s) of the crime among others.

We also have other types of imported counterfeit medicines seized and confiscated from Olisaemeka Osefo. He was arraigned and subsequently convicted by the Federal High Court, Lagos. The court ordered that the fake medicines be forfeited to the Government for destruction.

With regard to Food Fraud, the Agency through the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Food Products carried out raid operations on the major smuggling routes and distributors of smuggled substandard Brazilian sugar in the country. The importers and distributors usually use the popular and established brands as cover while dealing in the adulterated and misbranded products.

Consignments worth over one hundred million naira of the smuggled adulterated and misbranded products were seized and are being destroyed today. Of particular interest is a businesswoman one Mrs Esther Akinsanya and her company in a popular market in Lagos who specializes in REBAGGING of the smuggled substandard Brazilian sugar in the name of a popular brand. During the raid, massive re-bagging activity was taking place in her warehouse which she had converted to a factory. The case has been prosecuted at the Federal High Court, Lagos andthe counterfeiter convicted. The Court ordered the destruction of the items.

NAFDAC will ensure that the manufacture, distribution, sale and use of medical products and food are effectively controlled to ensure that the prescribed standards of identity, safety, quality and efficacy are met.

We solicit public and corporate support in our quest to eradicate the menace of drug of abuse, and importation of unregulated drugs and food products.

Finally, I want to assure consumers of NAFDAC Regulated Products that the Agency will leave no stone unturned in our war against narcotics and controlled drugs, substandard and falsified medicines, and unwholesome foods.

I would like to thank Her Excellency, the First Lady of Ogun State for her commitment to awareness and fight against dug abuse. I would also like to thank the hardworking NAFDAC staff from the Investigation and Enforcement, and Ports Inspection directorates, the drivers, police force and the community for their efforts in the destruction exercise of today.

Prof. Moji Christianah AdeyeyePhD, FAAPS, FAS, FNAPharm

Director – General, NAFDAC