The House of Representatives has proposed stiffer penalties for manufacturers, marketers and hawkers of counterfeit and fake drugs in the country.
Penalties can go as high as life imprisonment or a fine of N10m or both for manufacturers on conviction while those who engage in marketing such drugs and unwholesome processed foods, risk seven-year jail term or a fine of N5m.
These provisions were the highlights of a bill, which passed second reading at the House on Tuesday.
The “Bill for an Act to Amend the Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellenous Provisions) Act, Cap. C34, Laws of the Federation 2004 to Increase Penalties for Offences under the Act” was sponsored by a lawmaker from Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Bassey Dan-Abia.
Danbia argued that the current penalties for offenders were mild and that they allowed the offenders to get away with the serious crime of murder.
Dan-Abia, who described those who engaged in the act as “killers”, “murderers” and “destroyers of human lives,” said some of the extant provisions were as low as two-year jail term or a fine of N500,000.
Another lawmaker, Mr. Haruna Kigbu, told the House that people died daily due to intake of counterfeit and fake drugs.
“When the patient is sick and at the point of death what you need are drugs that can help their situation. But, when the drugs administered are fake, certainly the patient will not recover,” he stated.
BY JOHN AMEH