Fake Drugs and Amadioha

This week I was at a wholesale pharmacy and a customer- a pharmacist told us a story I have not been able to get off my mind.

He was holding a pack of a very popular medication and examining it with great care, he set it down and asked for ten packs.

This is the original” he muttered.

I was at another shop last week where they showed me two packs of this drug, both of them practically identical but the original had a small mark that the counterfeit did not have” he continued.

I couldn’t speak, the implications of this ricocheted in my mind. A conversation on fake drugs ensued but I simply put my jaw on my left palm, propping my elbow on my lap and let the talk wash over me.

 

This drug is prescribed for anovulatory infertility, the kind that occurs when a woman does not ovulate and oligospermia– where the man’s sperm cells are inadequate or azoospermia– where the sperm cells are not produced at all.

 

If you are married and had a child within a year of that marriage then you cannot imagine the anguish that is the consequence of the quest for a child, this is one horror Nollywood cannot even exaggerate. So imagine a couple going through that experience who take that drug because it was prescribed or recommended (remember we are in Nigeria where everyone is a mini-doctor) and they pray that the drug works but they have no idea that the tablet that one or both of them are swallowing is ineffective.

 

What kind of monster fakes such a drug? I wondered. The thought would grip my head with vice like intensity from time to time but this evening while I was giving my youngest brother the medication I got for him, it struck me that my horror was misplaced. My brother has had diarrhoea for a while, it comes and goes but in the last three days it has become very serious. I had thought he was reacting to milk (he can finish a 400g pack of milk in three days) and I even told him he might be lactose intolerant.

 

What if the medication he had been taking for the diarrhoea has been ineffective all this while? my brother is healthy young man in his early twenties, practically in his prime of life so it really hasn’t been a life threatening issue. However millions of people of all ages have died from dehydration and electrolyte loss subsequent to diarrhoea and vomiting, it can be a matter of life and death for them to get effective medication.

 

What kind of monster fakes drugs, any drug! Whether it is multivitamin supplements or anticancer agents, why do it? Before you tell me it’s for the money, the pharmaceutical industry is worth billions, it is one of the (if not THE) most lucrative business ventures on earth today. There’s no need to cut corners because the money you can make legitimately is mind-blowing. I’ve thought about it all evening and I still cannot understand it.

 

Yet these merchants of death will lift holy hands in church on Sunday and donate huge amounts for community development and you can be sure that they’ll spray you the most money at your festive occasion. I wish I could summon Amadioha to strike everyone involved in that business, from top to bottom! The Amadioha of my father’s village that was quick to strike offenders, that’s how incensed I am.

 

It’s sad that after all the efforts of the late Prof Akunyili, we still live with the menace of fake drugs. I wonder if things will ever change.

 

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13 Comments

  1. Hi Adaeze,

    A very relevant topic, well done!

    Honestly, this is the evil of all evils. I wonder where their conscience migrated to, How do they go to bed at night? It’s despicable that anyone would think of extending this counterfeit hustle to drugs, at the risk of people’s lives.

    Capitalism sometimes has its downsides, some are narrow-mindedly focused on profits rather than the wellbeing of the people paying for their goods.

    In other news, there’s a fake version of Tiger razor blade in the market now. They’ve called theirs “Tigger”. That extra “g” was the reason why my eyebrows did not get shaved recently, because all the blades in the pack were as blunt as a 200-year old cutlass. 😀

    Reply

    1. I really don’t think this is a Capitalism issue inherently. Free markets devoid of regulation cannot exist everywhere and the drug market is pricipally one. Like Chynanu pointed out its super lucrative but it MUST be put into check. Get the govt out of entertainment and other non-essential pursuits and deeper into absolute non-negotiables of Education, Healthcare, Childcare and Security.

      We need a ravenous bloodthirsty sabre-toothed tiger kinda person back in NAFDAC to consolidate on what the late Dora built…if any of it is still left standing.

      Reply

    2. Thanks Nedu,
      It truly is despicable how these people have killed their consciences on the altar of greed.
      Razor blades have fakes? Razor kwa?

      Reply

  2. The heart of greedy man is more than desperately wicked ( for lack of a better description )
    Some peoples consciences are lost. Like non existent.
    You know, I often wonder I’d they think about themselves or loved ones being victims of their ‘lucrative’ business.
    How can someone sit down and painstakingly package powder in capsules. If that person isn’t wicked I don’t know who is.

    Its all just sad.

    Reply

    1. I don’t think we can ever understand what drives men to commit such evil, even greed shouldn’t be powerful enough for that.
      It’s very sad Tamie.

      Reply

  3. It’s so sad that some of the biggest names in the country got their wealth through people’s deaths. We might look at it as part of life but it’s cruelty. Fake drugs is something that we have been battling with a country for so long and my heart breaks to think that people going through infertility issues and have drugs to help them conceive most times find themselves buying fake drugs.
    I remember one time, my friend bought chalk instead of paracetamol. I wish something could be done about this.
    @nedoux, Tiger has fake? OMG!

    Reply

  4. Adaeze, kudos to you for this post. I agree that the perpetrators must go unpunished, either by the wrath of amadioha or any other means. However, the issue of fake drug is multifaceted. It isn’t only about those who churn out these drugs, but also those who turn a blind eye to these devilish acts, those who fail to report to the right authority when they discover them because they choose to be indifferent.
    Bribery and corruption are factors, coupled with the fact that our leaders have misplaced priorities.

    The war against fake drugs cannot be left for NAFDAC alone. Everyone is a stakeholder in this situation so long they use drugs. Our senators should stop going to their adversary’s residence to take selfies to showcase how courageous they are. They should rather redirect their bravery to the battlefield of counterfeit drugs.

    We can either risk sharing the fate of the prophets of baal by summoning amadioha to do our battles for us or we can become the amadioha ourselves.

    Let’s become the amadioha.

    Reply

    1. Thanks for your comment Sweetheart,
      I’ve laughed and nodded as I read it, totally on point man, totally on point.
      “Let’s become the Amadioha”? Definitely!

      Reply

  5. There’s always an ongoing fight under Ojuelegba Bridge, there’s never a shortage of fighters or things to fight over in the urine scented stretch of road and grime. I don’t mind the fights or the ease with which you can lose a wallet or how your clothes carry the smell of Kwale weed when you take them off at night if you spend the day there, like I do. It has caused fights- the weed scent, I tell my girlfriend I have never and will never smoke weed but each night when I raise my arms, the weight of her displeasure strains my shoulders.

    Fights are my business

    Reply

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