Doctors Worry Over Fake Anti-Malaria Drugs

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Two medical practitioners in Lagos, on Monday called on the Federal Government and the regulatory bodies to check the importation of fake anti-malaria medicines into Nigeria.

They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that more than two-thirds of malaria medicines in the Nigerian markets were fake or substandard.

Dr. Austin Nweke, the Assistant Secretary, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Amuwo Odofin/Ojo zone, Lagos, said that the situation was worrisome.

Nweke said that the fake drugs were being produced in China, while drug peddlers, who were virtually everywhere in our society, were selling the drugs to the unsuspecting public.

“Many people have been victims of fake and counterfeit medicines.

“Imagine you have malaria and you are taking Artesunate, only to find out later that the medication had no effect.

“The fake anti-malaria drugs have taken over everywhere, therefore, people can hardly differentiate between fake and original,” he said.

Nweke advised the general public to go to the health centre and see a doctor for malaria treatment, adding that it could save many other health complications.

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“Self medication is dangerous. We no longer use one drug to treat malaria because of the resistance, we use combined therapy as recommended by a doctor,” he said.

Nweke also appealed to the Federal Government and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to check the anti-malaria drugs being imported into Nigeria.

Also, Dr. Godson Irabor, a General Physician, said in the case of children or non-immune adults, fake anti-malaria drugs could easily lead to death from untreated malaria.

He said that some of the fake drugs have been established to be chalk in capsules, while others contained little or no active ingredients.

“In some cases, they may actually contain harmful substances,” Irabor said.

According to him, these drugs can harm patients and lead to drug resistance among malaria parasites.

“With the nature and extent of counterfeiting in the country, our governments need to handle this issue with utmost vigour to save the lives of the public,” he said.