Bill to jail fake drug manufacturers for life passes second reading in House
The Bill to jail fake drug manufacturers for life has passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
This is also as hawkers of counterfeit drugs are also to be punished with a sentence of seven -years jail term.
Persons convicted for these offences will also have their properties confiscated and sold to compensate identified victims of fake drug usage.
The Bill, which seeks to amend the existing counterfeit and Fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods (miscellaneous provisions) Act Cap C34, was sponsored by Bassey Dan-Abia from Akwa Ibom State.
The amendment Bill received massive support from members of the Green Chambers during debate. It however, made provision for a fine of N10 million as option of fine for manufacturers or as the presiding judge may decide, impose the monetary fine as well as send the convicted person to life imprisonment.
Anyone caught selling fake drugs or hawkers of drugs in open market, according to the Bill, can also have a fine of N5 million imposed on him in lieu of jail term, or may be asked to pay the fine and still serve the seven years jail term upon conviction by the court.
According to the Bill, “anyone who produces, import, manufactures, sells, distribute or is in possession of; or sells or displays for the purpose of sale; or aides or abets any person to produce, import, manufacture, sell, distribute or display for the purpose of sale” any counterfeit, adulterated, banned or fake, substandard or expired drugs or unwholesome processed food in any form whatsoever, commits an offence and will get the life jail term punishment”.
Also in his lead debate on the Bill, Dan-Abia expressed reservations about the sale of prescription drugs by unqualified persons leading to manhandling of the drugs which constitutes danger to the health of persons who consumes such.
He said: “More worrisome is that petty traders who sell kola nuts, oranges and other such articles in market kiosks, motor parks and roadsides are often seen hawking drugs that range from over the counter items to antibiotics (popularly called capsules)”.
“The medicines are usually left under the sun in such conditions that could facilitate the deterioration of the active ingredients”
“Persons convicted under such crime according to the Bill should be sent to seven years in jail or made to pay a fine of N5 million or both”.
A long list of members who spoke on the bill including Deputy Leader of the House, Leo Ogor and Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, agreed that production, distribution and sale of fake drugs and unwholesome products constitute “pure mass murder”.
Virtually all the members were of the opinion that anyone involved in the act should rather get a death sentence.
However, the Bill was referred to the committee on Health for further legislative inputs as the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha who presided over the plenary put it to vote and it received massive support of members.