By Aderogba George
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has notified Nigerians about counterfeit COVID-19 antigen rapid test kits in circulation.
This is contained in a NAFDAC public alert released to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
The counterfeit BTNX Incorporated COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits were communicated to NAFDAC by Health Canada.
NAFDAC quoted Health Canada as saying that the fake test kits were sold online in 25-pack boxes by a distributor called Healthful Plus, which did not have the required licence.
According to NAFDAC, the packaging of the counterfeit kits resembles the authentic BTNX Inc. products in colour and typeface and uses the BTNX Incorporated.
It said that the device identifier is “COV-19C25,” but also has several key differences, adding that it was labelled as manufactured by “Health Advance Inc.” instead of BTNX Inc.
NAFDAC stated that on the packaging, Health Advance was identified as the “Official Canadian Distributor” of the counterfeit products.
It pointed out that the products had a claim of endorsement by government authorities, such as Health Canada.
“Genuine COVID-19 antigen test kit helps detect certain proteins in the virus. Rapid antigen tests are designed to tell in a few minutes whether someone is infected or not.
“It is recommended as a high-performing test for individuals with symptoms, high-risk populations, and healthcare or casual workers.
“Counterfeit health products are imitations of authentic products. The safety and effectiveness of these counterfeit test kits have not been assessed.
“The genuine manufacturer, BTNX Inc., has confirmed that the devices were counterfeit,” NAFDAC said.
Meanwhile, the agency advised wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies, and consumers to ensure that their products are obtained from authentic and reliable sources.
It also encouraged healthcare providers to increase their vigilance within the supply chain to avoid the importation, distribution, sale, or use of counterfeit COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits.
It advised healthcare providers to prevent the administration of the product to unsuspecting patients, adding that the products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked.
Anybody in possession of the counterfeit product should immediately discontinue sale or use and submit stock to the nearest agency office.
Healthcare providers and consumers are encouraged to report suspected counterfeit health products to NAFDAC at 0800-162-3322 or by email at [email protected]
NAFDAC also advised the public to report adverse effects via [email protected], e-reporting platforms at www.nafdac.gov.ng, or via the Med-Safety application for download.