Nigeria: Pfizer seeks collaboration in the fight against counterfeit medicines

In Nigeria Pfizer is seeking collaboration with key stakeholders on efforts to educate consumers about counterfeit medicines
Left to Right: Prof. Cyril Usifoh President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Bunmi Femi-Oyekan Pfizer’s Regulatory Director Sub Sahara Africa, Olayinka Subair Pfizer’s Country Manager & Cluster Lead West Africa and Gbenga Falabi the Secretary General of PSN

What happened?

The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh paid a courtesy call to Pfizer’s Nigerian office. During this visit, the multinational’s country manager and cluster lead for West Africa, Pharm. Olayinka Subair expressed the need for increased collaboration in order to fight against counterfeit medicines in the region.

What was said?

“The threat of counterfeits is not going away, Pfizer is seeking collaboration with stakeholders on efforts to educate consumers about counterfeit medicines because patients need the knowledge to protect their health from counterfeiters.” Olayinka stated

In his view; “counterfeit medicines often miss key ingredients and dosages, or contain added, harmful ingredients. As a result, patients who take counterfeits, including life-saving medicines for cancer and heart disease, lose the therapeutic benefits they rely on to treat their conditions.”

“Pfizer is seeking collaboration with government agencies, pharmaceutical organizations, doctors, pharmacists, and industry partners to help raise awareness of the growing problem of counterfeit medicines.”

“Together, we seek to tackle this threat to patient health by stopping counterfeits before they reach patients, giving consumers information they need to make the right choices, and supporting health care providers in our communities.”

Read also: Gambia: 70 children lost lives due to substandard cough syrups (

What’s more?

As the main umbrella association in Nigeria seeking to advocate for the welfare of all groups in the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector, Prof Cyril reiterated its support towards the collaboration initiative.

“The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria as a body that seeks to maintain a high standard of Professional ethics and discipline among its members would give all the support to work together with Pfizer. We would see how we can amplify by reaching out to stakeholders and see how far we can go in driving this campaign successfully.”

Prof. Cyril Usifoh, President PSN.

The Bigger picture

Patients who have consumed counterfeit medicines are exposed to treatment failure, increased morbidity, adverse drug reactions, an overall increase in costs of treatments and sometimes death. A report showed that almost half a million people die annually in sub-Saharan Africa due to counterfeit and substandard antimalarial and antibiotic drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies experience colossal losses when counterfeit medicines sip through the seams of weak pharmaceutical supply chains. In 2020 alone, Statista estimated that these companies lost $200 billion dollars due to these falsified medicines. It is therefore vital for companies like Pfizer to play their part in coming up with strategies that could eradicate the menace. Collaboration in creating awareness in consumers is key starting point.

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Bevin Likuyani is a Pharmacist with a MPharm (Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance) and MBA (Strategic Management) from School of Business, University of Nairobi). He is a Certified Supply Chain Pharmacist. (American Association of Supply Chain Management) and content writer on pharma related topics. Email:

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