Abuja: the rise of counterfeit pharmaceuticals


New research on the rise of counterfeit medicines in Africa has revealed an expansive criminal market that leads to widespread health concerns and loss of life. Counterfeit medicines directly undermine progress made towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly SDG 3, with sub-target 3.8 specifying access ‘to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all’.

The growing problem of counterfeit pharmaceuticals has been attracting policy and enforcement attention, often with the assistance of major aid organisations. The problem with current responses, however, is that they are often not robust enough in an African context and tend to be piecemeal in their approach.

Nigeria, however, managed to achieve an 80% reduction in counterfeit drug circulation by implementing targeted regulatory activities. The Nigerian food and drug agency, NAFDAC, banned all imports of medicines through all but two national points of entry. The case of Nigeria demonstrates how bespoke and comprehensive policy needs to be linked with the political will to bring about real solutions.

This seminar marks the launch of a new ENACT policy brief titled The Rise of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals in Africa. Drawing on lessons learnt in the Nigerian context, the event presents a timely opportunity for discussion on the nature, scale and impact of the problem in West Africa.


Martin Ewi, Technical Coordinator, ENACT Project


Enquiries: Martin Ewi – mewi@issafrica.org

Photo © Arne Hoel / Flickr

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