The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is seeking a life jail term for counterfeiters of fake and substandard drugs in the country.
The Director, Drugs, Research and Evaluation of the agency, Mrs Hauwa Keri, said this in an interview with the News Agency for Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
Keri said that the punishment was necessary to serve as deterrent to counterfeiters of fake drugs in the country.
She said that the proposal, if implemented, would make drug counterfeiting an unbailable offence.
“The agency is reviewing the current law, which stipulates a fine of N500, 000 or 15-year jail term upon conviction of offenders involved in the sale, distribution, importation and advertisement of counterfeit regulated products, to make the law serve as deterrent.
“The new law seeks life jail term and confiscation of assets upon conviction, compensation for victims if products is found to be the proximate cause of death or severe bodily injury and to make this a non-bailable offence. ”
Keri said that effective regulation was vital to improving access to quality essential drugs.
She said that the agency had put in place measures to reduce the scourge of drug counterfeiting in the country.
“One of the major strategies is the use of cutting edge technologies to secure the supply chain. The use of these cutting edge technologies has impacted positively in the fight against counterfeit medicines.
“Our findings over the last one year with the deployment of Truscan, which is a hand held device, indicate that there is a major decrease in the level of counterfeiters in circulation in Nigeria.
“The deployment of the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) using our telephone system, sending an SMS, is another means which we are using for end- patient regulated medication authentication.
“We put the power to detect the counterfeit at the hands of the consumer, so that they can buy, check immediately, if it is good, they take it, if it is bad, it will indicate it and immediately we follow and track the system for the location where the medicine has been purchased.
The director said that the agency was partnering with international agencies to create awareness on the dangers of drugs counterfeiting.