By Mbah Kosisochukwu Maryjane

WHAT IS A DRUG? A drug is any substance [other than food that provides nutritional support] that when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin or dissolved under the tongue causes a temporary physiological and often psychological change in the body.

In pharmacology a pharmaceutical drug also called a medication or medicine is a chemical substance used to cure, treat, prevent or diagnose a disease or to promote well-being [2].

The quality of pharmaceuticals is of global concern; counterfeit medicines are increasingly detected worldwide, also empirical observations have shown in Nigeria that there may be more counterfeit than genuine drugs in circulation [4].

Constant screening of marketed drugs by the drug regulatory authority or a consumer organization enables consumer to be aware of the quality of drug [3].

Drugs play an important role in improving human health and promoting well-being, however, to produce the desired effect, they have to be safe, efficacious and of acceptable quality. The use of ineffective and poor quality drugs will not only endanger therapeutic treatment but also erode public confidence in a country’s health program [6].

Use of counterfeit and substandard drugs bear serious health implication; such as treatment failure, adverse reactions, drug resistance, increased morbidity and mortality [1] and Counterfeit drugs particularly affect the most disadvantaged people in poor countries [5].

From the result of an analysis I carried out on five {5}different brands of paracetamol and coloured vitamin C tablets [name withheld] marketed in Awka of which none of the vitamin C passed and only 2 out of 5 of paracetamol passed it was proved we have more counterfeit and substandard drugs than genuine ones.

It means the active pharmaceutical ingredient [API] which is the essence of any drug responsible for the desired effect is not of the actual quantity it is meant to be but was backed up by the expicients in order to make up to the weight of the drug and thus such drugs may lack the potencies and efficacies to work well as the drugs they are designed for.

The main aim of this write up is to create awareness to us consumers and also to urge government to have a clear, firm and equitable legislation that addresses all important issues with appropriate sanctions for drug violators, NAFDAC should always implement routine inspection for pharmaceutical industries and their outlets without compromising and also we the consumers/buyers should always be alert at all time in double checking what we buy, and being at alert to detect differences in quality of packaging, label and ensure the drug has leaflets and NAFDAC registration number before consumption and report immediately of any drug whose quality is in question or adverse reaction felt for any drug product.

We the buyers also contribute to the producers producing substandard drug because instead of us going for quality drugs we would always go for cheaper ones which are not of standard [am not saying that all cheap drugs are counterfeit or substandard], this might make the producers of the genuine drugs to reduce the price of their drugs in order to maximise sales and at the same time reduce the quality of the product to maximise profit, not to be at loss.


1. Akinyandenu, O., (2013). Counterfeit Drugs in Nigeria: A Threat to Public Health. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 7(36): 2571-2576.

2. Https:// (Retrieved 12/08/ 2018).

3. Jadge, D.R., Deshpande, A.N.,Gadgul A.B. and Patil O.P. (2014). Comparative In-Vitro Evaluation of Different Brands of Paracetamol Tablets Marketed in Maharashtra State. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Health Care, 4(4): 40.

4. Osibo, O.O., (1998). Faking and Counterfeiting of Drugs. West African Journal of Pharmacy. 12(1): 53-57.

5. Saurabh, D., Anil K.M., Roop K.K., Madhu C. and Aruna C., (2008). Counterfeit Medicines-The Global Hazard, Pharmaceutical Reviews, 6(4): 122-126.

6. WHO (2010). 3IMPACTsurveydatacollectiontoolreport (Retrieved 11/04/ 2017).