Amid outbreak, Nigeria warns of fake anthrax vaccines

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in Nigeria has warned that falsified versions of various anthrax vaccines have been found in the country, as it battles an outbreak of the disease among livestock.

The NAFDAC notes fake anthrax vaccines were found on sale at major livestock markets in Nasawara, Kaduna, Kwara and Oyo states. The suspect shots were analysed by the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), with the tests showing that they contained plain water and, in some cases, water containing sugar.

The NVRI – which is the official source of anthrax vaccines in Nigeria – said that the genuine products come in 200ml plastic bottles with the inscription 400 and NVRI written on it, while the fake has two different names on it.

"No vaccine manufactured by NVRI has been registered by NAFDAC including the anthrax vaccine produced by NVRI," said the regulator in a statement.

"There is an urgent need for collaboration between NAFDAC and NVRI on the registration of vaccines manufactured by the institute."

Malaria drugs

Another alert concerns counterfeit copies of antimalarial drug Artequin 600/750 (artesunate and mefloquine) which were found in the cities of Onitsha and Kaduna, and are falsely labelled as being manufactured by Acino Pharma AG.

The counterfeit product carries the lot number E1702201 and an expiry date of 11.2025, according to NAFDAC, which says that illegally sold medicines "pose a risk to the health of people, since by not complying with the legal importation, the safety, quality and efficacy of the products are not guaranteed."

The product in question is no longer registered by NAFDAC for use in Nigeria as its product license expired on September 11, 2023, and it should therefore not be found within the country.

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