Stakeholders Adopt Track and Trace System to Overcome Counterfeit Drugs

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By Ayodeji Ake

To curb the menace of counterfeit drugs in Nigeria and ensure safer medicines for users, healthcare stakeholders at the second African GS1 Healthcare Conference have adopted ‘Track and Trace System (TTS)’.

Speaking at the conference organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with GS1, recently in Lagos, the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said the agency has shouldered the responsibilities of overseeing the manufacturing and distribution of quality medicines through the TTS barcodings.

She said: “We don’t have a good distribution system, secondly there are counterfeit and falsified medicines in our distribution system and up till now, we don’t have a track and trace system. Thirdly, we need a system where we can track and trace our medicines.

“ In developed countries, medicines can be traced from the manufacturer to the patients. Every medicine should have a bar-code so that if there is a problem we can track up to the original manufacturer.

“We are not there at all in Nigeria, which is why we have a five years plan to get there as much as possible. It’s extremely important that the medicine we take works, if it doesn’t, we won’t get well. On this note, we can’t over emphasise the importance of this meeting,” she said.

Adeyeye further noted that the track and trace system was being designed on a five years plan to put all systems in place for smooth operations.

The Chief Executive Officer, GS1, Babatunde Odunlami said the orgnaisation was bent on ensuring challenges within the supply chain, thus collaborating with stakeholders to proffer long lasting solutions like the introduction of Track and Trace System to reduce incidences of counterfeit drugs.

He said: “GS1 is a global organisation, what we focus on is the development of standards for the supply chain. Our tag line is that we are the global language for business.

“We look at the challenges within the supply chain and we work together through collaboration to proffer solutions. Barcodes are very important in businesses as it enables for tracking systems.”

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Lawal commended NAFDAC and GS1 for the giant step taken to end the scourge of counterfeit drugs.

He said: “Congratulations to the organisers of this event. It is a commendable thing for them bringing this conference together. No doubt Nigeria represents Africa because you will find in Nigeria what you will find in other African countries.”

On his part, the Chairman, Global Steering Committee for Quality Assurance, World Bank, Tom Woods applauded the initiative, noting that the meeting was not just a conference, but a move to protect the integrity of the healthcare system, adding that in their part, they bring global solutions to local challenges.