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August 3rd, 2009
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Drug Use In Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria: The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, a Nigeria
public policy think tank, Africa Fighting Malaria and American EnterpriseInstitute, a Washington DC think tank, has published a working paper: Drug Use In Nigeria.

The paper indicates there is prevalence of sub-standard and fake drugs in Nigeria but this is on decline. The paper also discovered irrational druguse and healthcare personnel acknowledged patients purchasing medicines from unregistered channels, and without valid prescriptions.

For decades, Nigeria has been plagued by counterfeit and poor-quality medicines, yet little information exists on the extent to which healthcare personnel are aware of counterfeit and substandard medicine, and how this influences their behavior.

Field researchers administered informal questionnaires to 211 healthcare personnel in Lagos, Ondo, and Ogun states of Nigeria about patient behavior and their own awareness of, and exposure to counterfeit and substandard medicines.

Respondents frequently cited the high cost of medicine as explanation for the proliferation of poor-quality drugs. Most healthcare personnel were aware of the problem, but their ability to identify and respond to poor-quality medicines differed widely.

Researchers also procured a small sample of essential medicines from pharmacies in Lagos to assess basic drug quality within the city. 18% of drugs failed thin-layer chromatography and/or disintegration tests.

These results support findings, including earlier research by some of the authors, that the prevalence of poor-quality medicines may be decreasing in Nigeria—possibly because of improved policing and prosecution of counterfeiters by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control. Government, industry, and the public health community can work together to improve consumer and healthcare worker awareness, and increase access to low-cost, high-quality pharmaceuticals.

And while Nigeria still has problems to overcome it is well ahead of other African nations in combating the scourge of substandard drugs. Indeed it could be viewed as a model for other countries in Africa – as such the bar should be set high for combating poor-quality drugs in Nigeria.






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