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Sygen Pharma Promotes Communal Well-being with New Brand

By Dipo Olowookere

Some critical stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria have come together to form a group aimed at frustrating and subsequently chasing makers of fake and substandard drugs out of business.

The group, known as the Coalition Against Counterfeit Pharmaceutical Products (CACPP), already has the support of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the major drug manufacturers in the country, distributors, retailers, and others.

At the unveiling of the coalition in Lagos on Monday, the convener of CACPP, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, who is also the chief executive of CMC Connect, disclosed that the initiative was borne out of the desire to rid the country of counterfeit drugs and save lives of consumers, who take drugs to get better.

“It is borne out of the desire to take a firmer stand against counterfeit pharmaceutical products in Nigeria through engagement and advocacy, with hope to kick off an intense national advocacy campaign against counterfeit pharmaceutical products,” he stated.

He stated that the group has mapped out strategies to achieve these goals, assuring that the coalition was focused and would not be derailed, no matter what.

According to him, CACPP found out that people consume counterfeit pharmaceutical products due to ignorance, poverty, and illiteracy.

While the West Africa Country Manager of Pfizer, Mr Olayinka Subair, agrees with this point, he stressed that, “Counterfeit medicines don’t cure any disease, rather they put patients’ health at risk because of their contents,” noting that fake drugs “ultimately impede the Nigerian healthcare system as lives are lost and medical conditions worsened due to this cankerworm. It is not an individual’s battle; it requires collective effort.”

“Nigerians need to champion the anti-counterfeit cause, especially as regards healthcare. We need to join hands together because there is no shortcut to health. Due process must be followed to get the best results.

“Unlike commodities, fake drugs are life-threatening. This means patients should only buy prescribed medicines from accredited pharmacies and not quacks or roadside vendors,” he stressed.

Also, the Deputy Director of the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit Substandard Regulated Products Investigation and Enforcement at NAFDAC, Mrs Florence Uba, who represented the acting director-general of the agency, assured the group of the full support of the regulatory agency.

However, she emphasised that NAFDAC would not entertain any favouritism as any fake drug maker caught would be severely dealt with, no matter the connection.

In his presentation, the president of the Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NiroPharm), Mr Femi Soremekun, stated that, “In recent years, the fight against counterfeit pharmaceutical products has taken new dimensions due to the global influx of counterfeiting syndicates, it is like a race against time for pharmaceutical companies – the cost to our collective health and economies is enormous.”

“Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have been perplexed as to how best to nip the challenges in the bud. The challenges are overwhelming owing to the sophistication of the activities of counterfeiters.

“Combating counterfeit pharmaceutical products is a herculean task, one that requires strong collaborations between government agencies and key stakeholders because of the impact,” he added.

It was agreed by the stakeholders present at the event yesterday that to combat the illicit trade of counterfeit pharmaceutical products, there is a strong need for collaboration and must look beyond the surface, which is most times in-ward.

Business Post reports that other organisations which threw their full weight behind CACPP include the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), and the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN), among others.

Also, a prominent Nigerian actor and filmmaker, Mr Ayo Badmus, has backed the initiative as its brand ambassador.

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