Drug hawkers are merchants of death – NAFDAC warns

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has again condemned the activities of drug hawkers describing them as merchants of death.

The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, stated this at a sensitization campaign in Awka in Anambra State.

The Director-General who was represented by the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Pharmacist (Mrs) Ngozi Onuorah, warned members of the public to desist from buying drugs from hawkers.

She warned that hawking drug is a misnomer, an aberration and illegality that should be resisted by all Nigerians.

She said: “NAFDAC over the years has employed a multifaceted approach including enforcement activities and pharmacovigilance, carrying out raids, arresting people and prosecuting them, but the problem of drug hawking has not abated.

“That is why this time around we are intensifying public sensitization campaign trying to approach it from another perspective of equipping Nigerians with the right and appropriate information because knowledge is power.

“To that extent, in the last one and half months, NAFDAC has embarked on effective community sensitization, market to market including motor parks to take the campaign to the grassroots.”

The key objective of the campaign, according to Prof. Adeyeye, is to change peoples behaviour.

“Even though they say old habits die hard but we believe that there are certain habits that are injurious to public health. So going to buy drugs from hawkers, the person is literarily killing him or herself.

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“For instance, drugs are not an article of trade like other commodities that people can hawk anyhow. No. It has to be stored under a particular storage condition and temperature and it has to be sold in licenced premises, pharmacies and patent medicines stores.

“It should not be hawked, it should not be traded in motor parks or buses, it should not be taken up and down by traders,” she reiterated.

She insisted that drug hawkers are merchants of death and therefore called on Nigerians to shun them and support NAFDAC in eliminating drug hawking.

The NAFDAC Director-General further called on enlightened Nigerians to help in restraining the uneducated and unenlightened ones from dabbling into drug trading as it is beyond their understanding.

While explaining the consequences of drug hawking, Prof. Adeyeye said: “If the drugs were efficacious originally, by the time they are being carried about under rain, the heat of the sun and other poor storage conditions, they would lose their potency, efficacy and safety such that over time they become outright poison which can damage vital organs of the body such as liver, kidney and ultimately lead to some terminal illnesses and even death.”

She, therefore, warned drug hawkers to desist from the business, warning that it attracts a jail term of not less than two years.

“Nigerians should, therefore, join hands and shun them because if nobody patronises them, they will fizzle out. If there is no demand, there will be no market,” the NAFDAC Director-General stressed.

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