Thursday, 17 April 2008

Interview with Dora Akunyili

The American Enterprise Institute carries an interview, "Cracking Down on Counterfeit Drugs", with Dora Nkem Akunyili (Director General of Nigeria's National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). In 2005, Time magazine named her one of its eighteen "global health heroes". After speaking about Nigeria's public awareness campaign she adds:
"We are not just working to protect Nigerians. It's also a responsibility for us to protect other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These countries, most of them are poor. They don't have the capacity to help themselves. And more importantly, the criminals being chased out of Nigeria were relocating to these countries. In 2005, we instituted the West African Drug Regulatory Authorities Network as a platform for interacting and exchanging strategies. And it's working. East African countries are joining us. The level of incidence of fake drugs is coming down drastically, though we are not relaxing because we know these criminals are not relaxing. We always want to be ahead of them".
Presumably she can expect little help from the pharmaceutical industry: so many of the basic medicines in circulation are out of patent protection and are marketed in generic rather than branded formats. Additionally, IP rights are national--which makes cross-border activity easier for governments than for individual rights holders.

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