The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians to desist from buying drugs from street hawkers as most of the drugs are counterfeits and poison.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the NAFDAC Director-General, who gave the warning in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said their business would collapse if people stop buying.
Adeyeye, who spoke through Dr Abubakar Jimoh, the Director of Public Affairs of the agency, was reacting to the ongoing nationwide campaign by the agency against substandard products.
The NAFDAC boss described street drug hawking as an aberration and misnomer, adding that one of the focus campaigns was to change the narrative of drug hawking.
She said that the agency had employed a multifaceted approach to tackling the activities of drug hawkers, among the approaches adopted was enforcement and public sensitisation that was ongoing.
She said that the agency had done quite a lot in enforcement activities, arresting people, but it was not enough; that was why it step-up a campaign to educate on the dangers of substandard goods.
“Prevention is better than cure, where people have information about the safety of food and drug, they will be able to avoid so many things, and to this extent, falling victims of all kind of illnesses will be reduced.
“In this sensitisation campaign, we are reinforcing our earlier clarion call that people should not patronise drug hawkers; that drug hawking in Nigeria is an aberration, it is misnomer, it should not even happen at all.
“Drug is not like any other article of trade, it is not like just any other commodities people can be hawking up and down.
“If originally drug efficacy were safe, but by the time you start to expose it to all source of whether, it becomes mere poison.
“People shying away from pharmacists or chemist shops all in the aim of saving money, poverty or out of pocket expenses are literary killing themselves.
“You can cause kidney failure for yourself or liver damage or damage to important organs of the body. With adequate information, this can be prevented; this is what we are trying to do,” Adeyeye said.
She said that once information is provided to Nigerians on the dangers of buying drugs from hawkers, it would stop the demand and supply will freeze out.
She noted that most of those who engage in drugs hawking were not illiterates, adding that they do so just to earn a living.
She said that once people refuse to patronise them, they would fizzle out and look for another trade or alternative to survive.
Adeyeye said that the agency was combining public sensitisation and enforcement activities to neutralise these drug hawkers who go to motor packs and bus stops and to chase them along the streets.