The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned that drugs sold in open market are poisonous and dangerous to human health.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the NAFDAC Director-General gave the warning at the North-Central media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of drug hawking and ripening of fruits with calcium carbide in Lafia on Monday.
Adeyeye, represented by Dr Leonard Omokpariola, said that ripening of fruits with calcium carbide is poisonous and dangerous to the health of consumers.
“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 NAFDAC boss said the drug hawkers are also major distributors and suppliers of narcotic medicines to criminal networks such as bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and armed robbers.
She said that drug hawkers constitute serious threats and should be tackled to curtail insecurity in the country.
She further said that drugs are sensitive life-saving commodities which should not be sold on the streets, motor parks or open markets like any other items.
Adeyeye emphasised the need for people to use natural method of ripening mature fruits such as the use of paper bags, flour, rice, decomposing apple and banana peels.
She further warned that the agency would prosecute any drug hawker or person caught using calcium carbide to ripen fruits.
The NAFDAC Nasarawa State Coordinator, Mr Omoyeni Babatunji, said the media is a versatile communication tool helping to deliver information to aid behavioural 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.
Also in his goodwill message, Mr Okpalaeke Nwora, Nasarawa State Coordinator, Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, said that when the council searches for illegal drug sellers, the public should know that it is because of its danger to health.
Nwora noted that it is illegal for a licensed dealer to sell drugs to unlicensed persons for the purpose of reselling them.
He warned that any licensed practitioners caught selling drugs to unlicensed persons would be arrested and made to face the law.
Similarly, Mr Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, lauded NAFDAC for the partnership and promised that media practitioners at the event would disseminate the information to targeted audience.