The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned that drugs available in open markets pose a significant risk to human health due to their potential toxicity.
During the North-Central media sensitization workshop in Lafia, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, issued this warning. Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, representing Adeyeye, emphasized the perilous nature of ripening fruits with calcium carbide, highlighting its harmful effects on consumers’ health.
“The menace of drug hawking poses serious challenge to healthcare delivery system in the country and this underscored NAFDAC’s resolute determination to totally eradicate the illicit trade.
“Many drug hawkers are knowingly or unknowingly merchants of death who expose essential and life-saving medicines to the vagaries of inclement weather, which degrade the active ingredients of medicine and turn them to poisons thus endangering human lives.
“Most of the drugs sold by the illiterate and semi-literate drug hawkers are counterfeit, substandard or expired; and therefore, do not meet the quality, safety and efficacy requirement of regulated medicines.
“Prescription drugs are also sold by the itinerant drug hawkers who consult, recommend and prescribe medicines to their gullible patients,” she said.
The head of NAFDAC highlighted that individuals involved in selling drugs on the streets also play a significant role as suppliers of narcotics to criminal networks, including bandits, insurgents, kidnappers, and armed robbers.
She emphasized that addressing the issue of drug hawkers is crucial to reduce insecurity within the country. Moreover, Adeyeye stressed that drugs, being critical life-saving products, should not be available for sale in places like streets, motor parks, or open markets like common merchandise.
Adeyeye underscored the importance of adopting natural methods to ripen mature fruits, such as using paper bags, flour, rice, or decomposing apple and banana peels.
Additionally, she issued a stern warning that the agency would take legal action against anyone caught hawking drugs or using calcium carbide for fruit ripening.
Mr. Omoyeni Babatunji, the NAFDAC Nasarawa State Coordinator, emphasized the media’s versatility as a communication tool, which plays a vital role in delivering information to facilitate behavioral change and development.
“NAFDAC believes that timely dissemination of quality information will bridge the gap on public ignorance around prevailing and emerging issues of sub-standard goods and use of harmful chemicals, hence this collaborative workshop,” he said.
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