February 14, 2006

Nigeria's drug regulatory body NAFDAC has criticised China for a perceived lack of co-operation in the battle against the counterfeit drugs trade. Counterfeit medicines account for approximately 68% of the drug market in Nigeria, with the vast majority of the illicit products coming from India and China.

NAFDAC has been cracking down on the trade in recent years, and in 2005 blacklisted a number of Indian companies for allegedly importing counterfeits. However, India has given some assistance in combating illicit drugs, a relationship not replicated by China.

China is one of the world's largest producers of fake drugs. According to UK sources, some 100,000 people in China died from illicit medicines in 2003. Although China is beginning to take strong action against domestic production, it could do more to stem the export of these products, claim market watchers.

India is keen to expand trade with Nigeria, which accounts for 20% of the country's pharmaceutical exports to Africa. This context is driving closer co-operation between the authorities and NAFDAC, according to local sources.