UPDATED: NAFDAC Shuts 240 Shops Over Fake Drugs, Beverages In Aba

No fewer than 240 shops on Cemetery Road Market, Aba in Abia State have been shut down over fake and counterfeit drugs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.

No fewer than 240 shops on Cemetery Road Market in Aba, Abia State, have been shut down over fake and counterfeit drugs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC.

The drugs and other products confiscated were worth more than N700 million

The scale of the counterfeit market in Aba is underscored by the staggering value of the confiscated goods, worth more than N700 million. This significant amount reflects the gravity of the problem and the extent to which counterfeiters have infiltrated the market, putting the health and well-being of consumers at risk.

Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, has been vocal about the agency’s commitment to ensuring the safety of food and drugs in Nigeria. The closure of the shops in Aba is a testament to NAFDAC’s dedication to its mandate and the protection of consumers. Adeyeye emphasizes that these actions are not only about punitive measures but also about sending a strong deterrent message to counterfeiters.

While the crackdown is essential for public health, it also raises concerns about the impact on local businesses and the economy of Aba. Striking a balance between consumer safety and the economic well-being of traders is a delicate task. It underscores the need for collaborative efforts between regulatory agencies, businesses, and the government to establish a thriving market environment that is free from counterfeits.

Adeyeye said the raid was carried out within the first two weeks of December 2023 and that many such raids had been going on in the country.

She decried the increase in the number of counterfeiters in the country. She charged citizens to be more careful of what they buy and consume, as most of these counterfeit products, including beverages and consumables, had adverse and long-term health implications for those who consumed them.

“We have carried out raids in different parts of the country, and we have seized goods worth millions of Naira. The latest raid is the one that happened at Cemetery Road Market in Aba.

“NAFDAC intercepted counterfeiters engaged in the production of a variety of beverages. They include alcoholic and non-alcoholics wines, as well as consumables.

“This was achieved due to several weeks of intelligence gathering. And we were able to carry out a sting operation and burst the criminal activities in the market that had been going on for a long time. They were now like a cartel.

“Some of the activities of the nefarious counterfeiters included the production of all kinds of wines from a wide variety of brands.They range from Schnapps, Dry Gin, Hennessy, Four Cousins, Chelsea to London Dry Gin and Gordons.

“They also counterfeited non-alcoholic beverages like Eva wine and Coca-Cola products, among others.

The criminals re-validated expired products. And all of these operations were carried out in a less-than-conducive environment with water that was not pure.

“During the raid, about 240 shops were closed down, and 1,500 cartons of the counterfeited products were destroyed.

“Three hundred cartons were seized, and 10 persons were arrested at the scene of the crime and will be charged to court. The goods destroyed and seized from this illegal operation were valued at about N700 million,” she said.

She urged Nigerians to always buy their beverages from reputable supermarkets and to avoid any deals that were too good to be true as they could be selling counterfeited drugs.

“Nigerians need to use the ‘Fours Ps’ when they are shopping. They should ensure that where they are buying their beverages are reputable supermarkets and not just roadside stalls.

“They should also not fall victim if the prices are too low to be believable. If the prices are low, then the product may not be from a good source.

“Packaging of the product is also very important. If the seal of the package is broken or it looks odd, then it probably may be the work of the counterfeiters.

“If the product smells badly, then that is another sign that it is a bad or counterfeited product, and consumers should look out for all these signs.

“Overall the product itself must be checked to ensure that it is not contaminated or a bad one. The World Health Organization (WHO) study in 2019 shows that alcohol consumption is tied to various cancers.”

She also highlighted some of the achievements of NAFDAC in 2023, which included a media parley with health journalists in different regions of the country to discuss the harmful effects of bleaching cream.

She also highlighted the deployment of MonkeyPox and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which were brought into the country based on mutual recognition and to be used for the treatment of the diseases.

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