Nafdac raids Aba Market, seizes expired drugs from counterfeiters

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has in a major enforcement operation raided the popular Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State, where many shops were closed and cartons of expired amino acid drugs being revalidated were confiscated.

The raid, coordinated by Abia State office of the agency, was part of the sustained enforcement operations across the country by NAFDAC to rid the markets of fake and counterfeit regulated products.

Chief Regulatory Officer of NAFDAC, Abia State, Mr Olisa Okeke, who led the operation in company with security personnel and journalists, explained in an interview that the product,  Amino-Fit, with red colour containing 10 tablets in a sachet and with batch number, B00313D, was manufactured in April 2013, with March 2016 as expiry date.

Okeke, however, noted that the dealers decided to clean the original expiry date and write a new date on the pack after the drug had expired to enable them to continue selling it to unsuspecting consumers.

According to him “some days ago, we got a tip-off that some persons were rewriting (re-validating) expiry dates on amino-acid drug, Amino-Fit and we went to investigate it at 21, Abagana Street, Aba.

“Our aim was to find and mop up the re-validated drugs. On getting to the place, we met a lady who operates a hair salon in the building.

“While speaking to the lady, a young man suspiciously answered the question posed to the lady from an opening behind a locked gate.

“This led the team to look in different directions only to find the expired products being re-validated stacked inside a shop next to the salon through an opening by the door,” he said.

Okeke said the team then forced the doors of the shop open and found the re-validated products inside.

According to him, the suspects escaped through the fence into another compound behind the building housing the shop.

He, however, said 14 cartons of the re-validated expired pharmaceutical products were confiscated, while search for the culprits behind the deal continued.

He revealed that the premises had been sealed pending the time the culprits or the owner of the property would come to give account of what happened in the building, adding that the screen-printing equipment that the suspects were using to re-validate the products were also recovered during the operation.

The NAFDAC boss in the state, therefore, advised the public to be careful and check the expiry date on products before buying, so as to avoid paying for expired products.

“Buyers of food and drug products around us now have to be extra-careful, because unless you are very careful and look very well, you will not see that they have changed the expiry date,” he said.