From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra state, has convicted one Ogbodo Friday, of falsifying an anti-malaria drug, Maldox, which is a combination of Sulfadoxine and Pyrimethamine, manufactured by a registered Nigerian Pharmaceutical Company.
The Court sentenced Ogbodo to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine for endangering lives of innocent consumers through circulation of fake drugs.
Ogbodo was arrested in his residence at 18, Abagana street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) who acted on intelligence, and was subsequently charged to court.
On 26th January 2022, he was arraigned at the Federal High Awka, Anambra State before Justice H.A. Nganjiwa on a two-count charge bordering on possession of fake Maldox (Sulfadoxine and Pyrimethamine) and packaging of Emzor paracetamol in a manner that is misleading.
After Ogbodo Friday pleaded guilty to the offence, the Prosecution reviewed the facts thereafter and the Court convicted the Defendant on the two-count charge and sentenced him to five years in prison on count one, and two years in prison on count two without an option of fine.
Justice Nganjiwa, in his judgement condemned the action of the convict, noting with dismay that many people could have died from ingestion of the fake Maldox.
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He emphasized the need for the Court to send the right message to other merchants of death who are still in the dangerous line of business.
NAFDAC, in a statement by its Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, in Abuja on Wednesday, said the convict confessed that he had been in the business of adulterating and falsifying medicines for more than a year and has had huge returns.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, in her remarks commended the judiciary for rising to the occasion when it was needed.
She said that NAFDAC will not rest until all that are still in the dangerous business of falsifying medicines to make money at the expense of the lives of fellow Nigerians are brought to book or abandon the trade for clean jobs.
Prof. Adeyeye vowed that other similar cases in court would be pursued to a logical conclusion with a view to safeguarding the lives of the citizenry.
She, thus, admonished members of the public to always assist NAFDAC in its quest to rid the nation of fake drugs and other unwholesome food products by providing useful information that would lead to the arrest of those who perpetrate the criminal act of falsifying medicines to make money.