9 January 2013

Nigeria: FG to Distribute Drug Verification Equipment to Hospitals - Minister

Abuja — The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu has said equipment used for verifying the genuineness of drugs by NAFDAC would be distributed to hospitals. The minister made the statement when he paid impromptu visits to National Agency for Food, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) in Abuja.

While at NAFDAC, the minister said it was pertinent to ensure zero tolerance for fake and counterfeit drugs. He said the equipment, such as the TruScan, had helped in tackling the issue of counterfeit drugs. Chukwu, However, said people involved in the act of manufacturing fake and counterfeit drugs should be enlightened on the right steps to take to manufacture good medicines.

"We need to intensify efforts to ensure that we achieve zero tolerance for fake and counterfeit drugs and Mr President is working towards ensuring that it is achieved. "While we are trying to curtail the issues, the people involved in the act should be shown the right thing to do so as to create jobs for them," he said.

Chukwu noted that drugs had been commonly abused by people needed to be regulated and controlled to avoid easy access to them. He said the issue of drug hawking should be looked into by the agency because drugs were not commodities that should be hawked. Chukwu, who went round the facilities of the agency, addressed the workers and assured them that all matters affecting the smooth running of the organisation would be addressed.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, appreciated the support of Ministry of Health to the organisation and pledged the commitment of the agency to safeguard the health of Nigerians. While at NIPRD, the minister commended the workers and urged them to take care of government property.

He said it was the responsibility of the institute to ensure that pharmaceutical industries in the country met set standards and requested that proper monitoring be duly conducted. Chukwu promised that the issue of promotion, which was raised by members of staff of the agency, would be looked into and addressed. Chukwu also advised the Director-General of the institute, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, to put up proposals for projects and forward to the ministry. (NAN

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