With figures indicating that $200 billion worth of counterfeit drugs is in circulation worldwide, the Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii has appealed to the World Health Organization (WHO), developed countries and stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry across the globe to put in place a new and proactive mechanism to fight against drug trafficking and counterfeiting.
According to him, the new mechanism will support the proposed member-states mechanism for combating substandard, spurious, falsely-labelled, falsified and counterfeit medical products.
Orhii made the appeal during the sessions of the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities (ICDRA) held in Tallin, Estonia.
The NAFDAC DG asked that the international community to consider the menace of counterfeit drugs strictly from public health perspective and therefore join forces in tackling the problem as a global challenge not just an issue for developing countries. The international collaboration against drug counterfeiting, he explained, should include information sharing, intelligence gathering monitoring and surveillance, developing new tools of detecting, preventing and controlling counterfeits as well as capacity building.
According to him, NAFDAC is currently spearheading local and international collaboration against drug counterfeiting particularly within sub-Saharan Africa in addition to other well-coordinated and multifaceted strategies to combat the problem.
He commended the thought provoking presentation by Head of Drug Control Board of Sierra Leone, Mr. Johnson Wiltshire and other speakers from over 100 countries who participated at the ICDRA conference.
Earlier, Mr. Wiltshire praised the leading role of Dr. Orhii in the deployment of new cutting-edge technologies like TRUSCAN, mobile authentication services and radio frequency identification system to fight drug counterfeiting.
The Sierra Leonean Drug Control boss called on the WHO and developed nations to offer financial assistance to less developed countries who are major victims of drug counterfeiting, because they lack the funds to procure the much needed cutting-edge technologies like TRUSCAN and deep infrared.