By Agency Report
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has urged all drug regulating agencies in the country, including the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), to ensure that only authentic and effective drugs are used in managing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Governor Obaseki gave the charge in commemoration of the International Drug Checking Day, marked every March 31.
According to him, while there is no authorised drug with concrete evidence to treat the new virus yet, relevant agencies of government must intensify efforts at protecting citizens from fake and substandard drugs, which litter the market with promise to cure the virus.
Obaseki said, “As we join the rest of the world in marking the International Drug Checking Day, it is imperative that we ensure people are educated on drugs and made aware of their effects, especially now that the entire world is being ravaged by COVID-19.
“While medical experts and scientists battle to produce the right drugs to remedy this public health crisis, some unscrupulous elements have flooded the streets and markets with shadowy therapies and drugs for cure. This is abysmal and unfortunate.
“However, this is a wakeup call to all drug regulating agencies including NAFDAC, SON, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), among others to ensure that only verified and authentic drugs are made available for public consumption”
Condemning the indiscriminate consumption of chloroquine, the governor said the state government would work with the State Ministry of Health (SMoH), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and pharmaceutical associations to immediately swing into action to reach patent medicine stores to regulate the sale of medicines, especially chloroquine.
Obaseki, who advocated for increased awareness on drug usage and checking, noted that sensitisation and knowledge sharing will further empower more Nigerians to make informed decisions about their health and safety.
International Drug Checking Day is celebrated yearly to raise awareness regarding drug checking. Drug checking is a harm reduction practice that helps drug users avoid ingesting potentially more dangerous adulterants found in street drugs. Drug checking services also assist emergency medical professionals and public health agencies in identifying trends in illicit drug markets, so they can better serve the needs of the community.