Cameroon customs seized 210 cartons of fake anti-malarial medication in Ngaoundere. The thousands of fake tablets were being smuggled into the country through Nigeria.
Sources say the cargo was intercepted by the Cameroonian army in one of its routine patrols to secure Cameroon’s maritime borders.
It is thanks to Dr Thompson Kingue, Director of the Limbe Regional Hospital who got to the scene after the cargo was intercepted that maritime security officials were able to determine that the chloroquine tablets were fake ones.
The chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets were allegedly manufactured by Jiangsu Pharmaceutical and Astral Pharmaceuticals, according to an alert issued by Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), citing information received from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Cameroon customs were alerted by the World Customs Organisation when the cargo vehicle carrying the fake medication was returning from Nigeria. The driver was stopped for identity and document checks but failed to provide marketing authorisation and a technical visa for the tablets, said Epoh Mbappe, a senior customs official, adding that those transporting the drugs have been remanded in custody.
“The falsified chloroquine phosphate 250mg tablets manufactured by the above two companies have no active pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and are in packs of 1000 tablets,” said NAFDAC in its alert.
A lot of people have been hearing rumours that the drug can prevent contracting the coronavirus and hence demand has been high and some malicious people engaged themselves in the illegal traffic of this drug so as to put it on the market..
Health authorities also announced that they had shut down six pharmaceutical companies that were producing and selling counterfeit drugs.
According to sources, these fake chloroquine tablets alongside the other drugs seized were meant to be sold in Cameroon.
Reports say most at times, the tablets sold are fake.