NAFDAC Destroys Illicit Drugs Worth N50 Million In Kaduna

nafdacThe National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has reiterated its commitment to ridding Nigeria of counterfeit and unwholesome drugs towards  ensuring  the protection of lives of the citizens.

This resolve was re-echoed on Tuesday by the agency, as it destroyed expired pharmaceutical products worth 50 Million Naira in Kaduna State, north-west Nigeria.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii restated that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against counterfeit drugs and substandard food  products.

Speaking after  setting the contraband products ablaze, Dr Orhii who was represented by the director, Special Duties in the agency, Abubakar Jimoh, said the agency was fully prepared to restore  sanity in the health sector and maintain zero tolerance in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Nigeria.

Though the various strategies employed by NAFDAC have resulted in seizures of smuggled containers of fake, substandard cosmetics and food products at the borders, Nigerians have also been advised to remain alert, to stop patronising street hawkers, whom they call merchants of death and to always check the labels of all consumables, which, when expired, can destroy the human organs.

According to the agency, statistics of counterfeit drugs have reduced from over 40 per cent in 2005 to 6.4 per cent in 2012, a feat that was achieved through collaboration with sister security agencies and the general public.

The agency also stated that it was making arrangements to regulate the manufacturing of orthodox medicines  to ensure that they do not constitute a threat to the health of Nigerians.

The Kaduna State commandant of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, appealed to Nigerians to join hands with the agency towards ridding the country of counterfeit and expired drugs, adding that his agency will continue to collaborate with NAFDAC and other security agencies in the fight against fake drugs in the country.

EU, UNODC, NDLEA Seek Regional Cooperation Against Narcotics

NDLEA_NewThe European Union (EU) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are working with the Nigerian government to improve regional and international cooperation in drug control in order to strengthen regional and international cooperation in the fight against narcotic drugs.

This was made known during the visit of the EU Ambassador, Michel Arrion and country representative of UNODC, Ms. Mariam Sissoko to the NDLEA Headquarters in Lagos.

The EU Ambassador stressed the need to curtail the activities of drug syndicates through collaboration, adding that EU is providing funds for Project NGAV 16 – Response To Drugs and Related Organised Crime.

“At inter-continental level, the European Union finances a number of projects as part of the Cocaine Route Programme. The Cocaine Route programme with a budget of over 30 million Euros, covers 36 countries of which half are in Africa, essentially West-Africa, five in the Caribbean countries and the remaining in Latin and Central America” Arrion stated.

UNODC Country representative, Sissoko said that her office is working with the NDLEA to tackle the drug menace.

“We are working with the NDLEA to assist the Agency progress towards an intelligence-led organization equipped to deal with the challenges of the ever changing drug industry. We commend the Chairman and senior management of the NDLEA for decisively embarking on the change management process that is required to strengthen the intelligence-based response of NDLEA to drug matters”, she said.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade, who received the delegation said that regional and international cooperation is vital to global success in narcotic control.
He also noted that “drug trafficking like terrorism and arms smuggling represents a growing threat to global peace and security. Many lives are being lost on a daily basis around the world. Activities of drug cartels have turned the world into a global village thus making international partnership amongst drug law officers, donors and international institutions inevitable.

“This project demonstrates EU’s willingness to assist countries in the implementation of international drug conventions. It will also provide appropriate framework for regional drug control programmes. The challenges posed by illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and abuse are enormous. We therefore believe that through shared responsibility, greater progress will be made in addressing the illicit drug phenomenon”.

Giade said the project will enhance technical and operational capacity in front line Agencies leading to targeted interventions on drugs and organized related crimes in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, adding that “it will help to manage drug abuse counseling, drug treatment and rehabilitation through the creation of a reliable network of quality drug treatment service providers”.

He also noted that the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP) 2015-2019, a policy document for drug control is almost finalized. The master plan contains new ideas and new control approaches which will be implemented in the next four years.

The EU has procured 100 desktop computers for the smooth takeoff of a Data Exchange Centre, which will help to establish an evidence based approach in addressing the challenges of illicit drugs in the country.

Under the project an institutional assessment of the Agency was conducted which recommended capacity building and improved funding as the way forward for the Agency.

NDLEA Arrests, Prosecutes 348 Drug Suspects In Kaduna

The Kaduna State  Commander of the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mohammed Jibrin,  0n Wednesday said that the agency arrested 384 drug suspects and seized 2, 437. 60 kilograms of various illicit drugs in 2013.

He was speaking to reporters in Kaduna, where he gave the breakdown of the suspects as 371 males and 13 females.

He said Cannabis Sativa, also known as Marijuana, topped the list of seizures put at about 2.368 tons, adding that the 2013 numbers indicate a marked increase in the rate of arrests and seizures by the command.

The Commander also announced the discovery and sealing off of a fake Pharmaceutical company located in Zaria and another discovery and destruction of five Cannabis farms in five local government areas of the state.

Mr Jibrin also announced the arrest of eight drug barons and the conviction of 72 drug dealers to various jail terms by the Federal High Court in the state.

The commander, who decried the high rate of drug abuse among the youths in the state, however, vowed that the agency would not rest until it had eradicated such unwholesome practice across the state.

“The agency successfully rehabilitated 33 drug addicts and another 20 are undergoing the same process in their facility in Zaria,”  he said.

NYC Comptroller Candidate Arrested For Illegal Drug Sales

A former Manhattan madam who is running for New York City comptroller was arrested and charged with selling prescription pills for cash, the FBI said on Tuesday.

In the latest twist to the city’s scandal-hit campaign season, Kristin Davis, 38, allegedly sold prescription pills to a federal informant four times in four months this year, the FBI said.

Davis is running for the post of comptroller – in effect the city’s chief financial officer – also being sought by former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer is attempting a political comeback after resigning as governor in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal. Davis has said Spitzer was one of her customers and that she provided him with prostitutes.

Polls show Spitzer tied with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary, set for September 10.

Davis is charged with four counts of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, said George Venizelos, head of the FBI’s New York office.

Following a federal court appearance on Tuesday afternoon, Davis was released on a $100,000 bond and ordered to surrender her passport and restrict her travel.

In court, she sat hunched over at the defense table, her hair in a ponytail, wearing a black sweater and slacks.

Her attorney Daniel Hochheiser said if Davis is indicted she will plead not guilty.

“Miss Davis is accused in a hearsay complaint based upon an unsworn statement of an admitted drug dealer seeking leniency at the expense of a high-profile target,” he said following the bail hearing.

Davis spent four months in jail for her role in the prostitution scandal. Spitzer, 54, was never charged with any crimes.

Leaving the courthouse, Davis walked through a throng of reporters and cameras, declining to answer questions about how the charges could affect her candidacy, and hailed a taxi cab.

A Libertarian, she entered the race before Spitzer announced his candidacy.

Spitzer is not the only New York politician attempting this year to recover from scandal.

Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in 2011 after saying he had accidentally sent a lewd picture of himself over Twitter, in May launched a campaign for mayor.

Last week he publicly defied calls by major newspapers to drop out after a website published racy text messages he sent subsequent to the earlier scandal.

Designer Drugs Take Over Heroine, Marijuana -Report

A report by the United Nations on drugs has shown a sharp increase in the use of prescription drugs and so-called “designer drugs” posing threats to public health.

The report also said that there has been a decline in the use of traditional drugs such as heroin and cocaine in some parts of the world and even some stability in the use of marijuana in Nigeria but the abuse of chemical substances and prescription drugs persists.

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Ahmadu Giade says the incursion of foreign drug cartels into the country is also a bigger challenge.

The 2013 World Drug Report of the United Nations office on drugs and crime has shown an overall global stability in the abuse of drugs though some increase in the total number of users.

But more worrisome is the use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) also referred to as designer drugs besides the more popular cocaine and heroin. These drugs, which have street names such as “spice,” “meow-meow” and “bath salts,” are sold openly and online.

The report further stated that cannabis or marijuana remains the major substance of abuse but the designer drugs are catching up with the discovery of five clandestine laboratories used for the illicit production of methamphetamine within the past two years.

The report also points that sub-Sahara Africa will remain a porous transit routes for drug trafficking without clear strategies to stop the trend.

Kogi Inaugurates Essential Drugs Committee

The Kogi state government has inaugurated a Drugs Monitoring Committee to ensure that good drugs are sold out and givien to patients as part of its determination to gurantee that basic drugs are available for quality medical service delivery.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Idris Omede who disclosed this while speaking at the inauguration of the 5-man committee at the state ministry of, Lokoja.

While inaugurating the committee, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Idris Omede stated that the committee has become more imperative now more than ever before for the accountability and sustainability of essential drugs revolving scheme.

He added that the state must shift from out of stock syndrome and parallel sale drugs and other consumables.

Idris explained that the concept of essential drugs scheme is to ensure that drugs are available, accessible and affordable and in the potent form for rightful prescription in dose form to the patients and client, stressing that the essential medicines list has been reviewed five times since 2010.

In his remark, the chairman of the committee, pharmacist Joseph Achem who spoke on behalf of other members commended the state government and ministry of health for giving them the opportunity to serve the state.

Achem pledged that the committee will be diligent, professional and ethical in carrying out the assignment without witch hunting anybody, while appealing to the state government to make adequate arrangement for an effective logistics to enable the committee to carry out assignment with any hitch.

NAFDAC Destroys Drugs Worth N139Million

The National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised the general public to stop patronizing hawkers of drugs on the streets and in buses saying these hawkers are merchants of death who pass on fake drugs to unsuspecting members of the public.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Paul Orhii said this in Abuja shortly before destroying fake, counterfeit, substandard, expired and other unwholesome regulated products.

Dr. Orhii stated that the proliferation of counterfeit and fake products has caused loss of confidence in the nation’s healthcare system, treatment failure, development of resistance, prolonged hospital admission and untimely death of some innocent persons.

He warned that there will be no sacred cows in the fight against counterfeiting of regulated products as the agency destroyed fake drugs worth N139 Million.

 

Canada’s Supreme Court strips Viagra patent from Pfizer

Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the patent on global pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer Inc’s Viagra erectile dysfunction drug on Thursday and opened the door to generic competition.

A box of Viagra, typically used to treat erectile dysfunction, is seen in a pharmacy in Toronto

The court backed an appeal by Israeli-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd – the world’s largest generic drug maker – which argued Pfizer had been too vague when filing its patent, which runs out in 2014 in Canada.

In a unanimous 7-0 verdict, the court said Pfizer had not provided enough details to identify the active ingredient in Viagra.

“Pfizer gained a benefit from the (Patent) Act – exclusive monopoly rights – while withholding disclosure in spite of its disclosure obligations under the act,” Justice Louis LeBel wrote on behalf of the court.

“As a matter of policy and sound interpretation, patentees cannot be allowed to ‘game’ the system in this way … (the patent) is invalid.”

In the past, Pfizer has successfully defended patent lawsuits from Teva in the United States, Spain, Norway and New Zealand.

“Pfizer expects to face generic competition in Canada shortly. The company … is disappointed with the court’s ruling,” the firm said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

Company spokeswoman Christina Antoniou, citing commercial confidentiality, declined to say how much the Canadian Viagra market is worth.

Pfizer’s Canadian patent – which came into force in 1998 – was divided into seven parts and covered 260 quintillion different chemical compounds.

But only one of the compounds – sildenafil – was active and the court said the patent had not provided enough information to allow another company to produce Viagra.

“Pfizer had the information needed to disclose the useful compound and chose not to release it,” the ruling said.

“Even though Pfizer knew that the effective compound was sildenafil at the time it filed the application … it chose a method of drafting that failed clearly to set out what the invention was.”

LeBel – who said “wilful intent to mislead has not been alleged or proven in this case” – noted that Pfizer’s submission to the Supreme Court had offered no explanation for withholding the information.

Teva took the case to the Supreme Court after two lower courts in Canada ruled against it. No one at the firm was immediately available for comment.

Damien Conover, an analyst at Morningstar, said he expects the Canadian ruling to have minimal impact on Viagra sales in the United States, even though people are more likely to buy “lifestyle” drugs such as Viagra as generics than they are to buy generic life-saving drugs.

“But I think it’ll be a minor impact. I can’t say how much it will hurt (U.S.) sales, but it’ll be minimal,” Conover added.

Even Teva isn’t expected to gain much, said Kevin Kedra, an analyst at Gabelli & Co. “I don’t think this is something that will move the needle for either company,” he said.

Viagra is Pfizer’s sixth-biggest medicine, with annual sales of about $2 billion. Its sales have been crimped by competition from Eli Lilly and Co’s longer-acting Cialis.

The case is 33951, Teva Canada Ltd against Pfizer Canada Inc et al.

Illegal drugs sold via social media

A U.N. drug agency warns that illegal Internet pharmacies are selling illicit drugs and prescription medicines online and are increasingly targeting young people.

The International Narcotics Control Board also described North America as the world’s largest illicit drug market; parts of Europe as the homes of industrial scale cannabis factories; and growing poppy cultivation in West Asia.

Focusing on Internet pharmacies as a growing threat, a summary of the agency’s 2011 report cited the agency’s head, Hamid Ghodse, as saying such use of social media “can put large, and especially young, audiences at risk of dangerous products.”

The Vienna-based board urged governments to close down illegal Internet pharmacies. It also called on them to seize substances that have been illicitly ordered on the Internet and smuggled through the mail.

The organization noted “high levels of illicit drug production manufacture, trade and consumption,” with “vast amounts produced in all three countries” in North America — the United States, Canada and Mexico.

ransited through Mexico, even as an increasingly harsh crackdown by Mexican authorities is forcing some drug cartels to move their operations to Central America, the agency said.

It identified Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua as achieving the status of “major transit countries for smuggling drugs primarily destined for the United States” in 2010.

Cannabis was a major problem in Western and Central Europe, with plants “increasingly cultivated on an industrial scale, mainly indoors, and with the involvement of organized criminal groups,” the agency said.

“Europe accounts for the largest proportion of the global opiate market, and the abuse of heroin is the biggest drug problem in Europe in terms of morbidity and mortality,” according to the summary.

The agency noted “significant increases in opium production” in West Asia last year and warned that higher prices for crop growers in Afghanistan and planned cutbacks in international troops in the country “could lead to even further increases in production beyond 2011.”

It identified parts of Africa as representing a growing problem, both in terms of drug transit routes and of opiate consumption.

Cocaine trafficking from South America through Africa and into Europe “has emerged as a major threat in recent years,” the agency said, with criminals increasingly shipping the drugs in containers and commercial aircraft.

“Heroin enters the continent through East Africa and is smuggled, either directly or via West Africa, into Europe and other regions,” said the summary noting that authorities made “record seizures” of heroin in Kenya and Tanzania last year.

NDLEA uncovers illegal drug factory in Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency says it has discovered a secret laboratory in Lagos South West Nigeria where the production of methamphetamine is done illegally.

Addressing journalist on Tuesday at the drug law enforcement agency’s headquarters, the Chairman of the agency, Ahmadu Giade says two buildings used to perpetrate the criminal act at the daily times estate in Satellite town, Lagos have been sealed.

He said that three Bolivians, Yerko Dorado, Ruben Jorge and Hugo Chavez Moreno have been apprehended and assisting the agency in its investigation on the matter.

Mr Giade also says 41.15 kg of ephedrine, 4.8 kg of methamphetamine as well as other chemicals and sundry gadgets used in the laboratory including three vehicles were recovered while two brothers Solomon Uzoka and Basil Uzoka have been declared wanted.

Methamphetamine is a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and is usually taken orally or intra-nasally by snorting the powder, by needle injection, or by smoking.

It is a strong stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

A derivative of Amphetamine, it is highly addictive.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative health consequences, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems also known as “meth mouth,” anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behaviours.

Other psychotic features include paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions such as the sensation of insects crawling under the skin.
Some of the street names of methamphetamine are “speed,” “meth,” “chalk,” “ice,” “crystal,” and “glass.”