The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has alerted Nigerians to the circulation of fake 250mg tablets of chloroquine phosphate.
Chloroquine is an oral artemisinin-based monotherapy (oAMTs) used for malaria treatment.
In a statement, Mojisola Adeyey, director-general of NAFDAC, said the agency was notified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the circulation of the tablets in Cameroon.
She said the agency has strengthened its surveillance ports to prevent the entry of the fake chloroquine into Nigeria.
“The falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets were manufactured by Jiangsu pharmaceutical Inc, Astral pharmaceutical New Bhupalpura, China,” the statement read.
“The tablets manufactured by these companies has no active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and are in packs of 1000 tablets.
“The use of the falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets may result in treatment failure and could even cause death.”
She also said the labelling information on the chloroquine reads “fake NAFDAC No: 028060″.
“The Astral pharmaceuticals, New Bhupalpura, China is labelled with fake NAFDAC registration No. 0587612 and advised the general public to be aware of this drug,” she said.
“All importers, wholesalers and retailers are hereby cautioned to desist from illegal importation, distribution and sale of falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“NAFDAC has strengthened its surveillance in all ports of entry to prevent illegal importation of the falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets.
“The agency has also heightened surveillance in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to prevent distribution and sale of this falsified drug.
“Healthcare providers and other members of public are advised to be vigilant and contact the nearest NAFDAC office with any information on the falsified chloroquine.”
The demand for chloroquine soared after President Donald Trump said the drug had been approved to treat COVID-19.
This was after health experts had earlier dismissed speculations that the drug could be used in fighting the virus.
Although the US Food and Drug Administration contradicted the American president, saying the agency was still working to examine all possibilities that the drug can be used to treat the disease.
The Lagos government also warned people against massive consumption of the drug as a measure to fight coronavirus after reports that some hospitals in the state were receiving patients suffering from chloroquine poisoning.