NAFDAC considers life in jail for fake drug dealers14-Aug-2012
Nigeria's national medicines regulatory authority has said it wants life sentences for counterfeit drugs sellers as part of new anti-counterfeiting legislation.
A review by the Nigerian Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is considering pushing for an extension of the 15-year maximum sentence, according to local newspaper reports.
"The agency is reviewing the current law...to make [it] serve as a deterrent and be in line with international requirements for the regulation of food, drugs and other related products," Francis Ifem, state director of NAFDAC, said at a workshop on adulterated and substandard drugs.
NAFDAC is considering life imprisonment alongside a raft of other measures intended to cut its counterfeit drug problem. Proposals being considered include making convicts pay damages if their fake drugs caused death or severe injury and confiscation of assets of those found guilty.
Long sentences are often proposed by lawmakers seeking to tackle fakes but evidence of their effectiveness is mixed. Speaking to US politicians in March, Lucien Dervan, assistant professor of law at Southern Illinois University, questioned the wisdom of doubling the maximum jail term.
"Studies regarding the impact of increasing the severity of sentences…indicate that such policies…do not have the desired impact. Increased focus on and funding of the investigation and prosecution of certain classes of offences may be more effective," Dervan said.
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