National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intercepted a Kano bound trailer loaded with counterfeit pharmaceuticals, arresting the counterfeiters who were purportedly in possession of Toluene diisocyanate 80/20 (TDI), highly regulated and controlled chemical and Tramadol.

Announcing this yesterday, was Mrs. Yetunde Oni, Acting Director General, NAFDAC, while briefing journalists who said the agency intercepted a trailer load of counterfeit pharmaceuticals at a warehouse owned by Chosen Global Haulage Nigeria Ltd, Ware House No. 7a, Otto Causeway,Iddo Motor Park, Oyingbo, Lagos, following an intelligence report and surveillance mounted at Iddo Motor Park by operatives of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, NAFDAC.

According to Oni, Toluene diisocyanate 80/20 (TDI) is highly regulated and a controlled chemical that could be used as a precursor in the manufacture of illicit drugs and as a chemical weapon by terrorists because of its volatile nature.

She also said that Tramadol is highly abused by youths, notably ‘Okada’ riders, brick layers, commercial and truck drivers, artisans etc. This may be the reason for the avoidable death occasioned by mis-use of this product.

According to her: “The counterfeiters used bundles of second-hand clothes (a.k.a. Okrika) measuring tapes, screw drivers, food products and some other registered NAFDAC regulated products to conceal the counterfeit medicines. In the truck was also found internationally controlled precursor chemicals.”

She further noted that the warehouse which was filthy and in a state unsuitable for storage of medicinal products, also contained motor spare parts and general goods.

Oni also said that the products do not have location, but codes on their packs indicate that they were purportedly manufactured in Gujurat, India.

Other violative medicinal and chemical products discovered which the agency evacuated to its warehouse are: Dr. Relly Extra (Paracetamol, Diclofenac and Caffeine tabs, 325mg50mg30mg); Dicloforte 550 (Diclofenac sodium 50mg) 470 cartons x 20 x 5 x 10 x 1 x10tabs; Toluene diisocyanate 80/20 (TDI), 10 drums x 250kg Tramadol 225mg/200mg, 25 cartons, among others.

She maintained that the agency has not registered any Tramadol 225mg or 200mg strength and added that the strength of tramadol intercepted is not approved by NAFDAC for registration.”

The Ag NAFDAC boss also said that her agency has under custody one Mr. Ikechukwu Adiba for being in possession of counterfeit packaging materials of Augmentin powder for oral suspension for infants and children who was arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Kano State Command.

Following Adiba’s arrest, a provision shop located at No. 8b Burma Road, Sabon Gariwas was raided by NAFDAC’s operatives and four cartons of Counterfeit Augmentin powder, empty bottles in sacks, some Augmentin tablets and packaging materials were recovered.

Ikechukwu Adiba who manufactures the dangerous products in his residential apartment in Kano has been doing so since 10 years, Oni said, adding: “The use of fake/counterfeit antibiotics with little or no active ingredients can lead to resistance development which can leave physicians with nothing to treat serious infections which could be life threatening.”