The PTML Area command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has impounded a 40-foot container of expired drugs and laboratory equipment imported into the country from the United States of America.
Briefing newsmen in his office yesterday, Customs Area Controller of the command, Comptroller Adegoke Folunsho said the drugs, some of which have expired since 2010, were imported by a non- governmental organization for “charity purpose”.
He explained that although the importer was granted waiver on request to import the drugs, most of them, after examination was conducted were found to have expired even before importation.
He said the customs acted on the waiver letter which says the imported drugs must have a shelve life of six months after clearance.
“The importer actually have approval for waiver to bring in the drugs but there is a caveat where they say the drugs should have a shelve life of about six months after clearance. However on examination, we found out most of the drugs have expired prior to being brought into the country, some since 2010, 2011 and some April 2014,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the drugs have been officially handed over to offcials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Representative of the agency, Mrs. Maureen Ebigbeyi said, ”From all the items on the list of products that was approved for the NGO, we found out that there is none with expiration date less than 2015, that was the basis for which the approval was given.
“Customs took time to conduct examination and found out that inside the personal effect container, they also have drugs. For us, this is called concealment and it has its own sanctions that we will give to the importing organization. They will forfeit the expired drugs and also pay for the destruction and they will be given administrative charge by our enforcement arm.
“That we need something does not mean they should give us something bad. If you want to give us something, be they free or we are paying for it, they must be of good quality and in condition that we can use them, not expired product,” she said.
She said some of the drugs would be taken to agency’s enforcement directorate for further laboratory evaluation before releasing those that still have valid use.–Ships and Ports