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ASSESSING NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC) AS A CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY

Project Topic: Assessing National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as a Consumer Protection Agency in Nigeria


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The activities and ingenuity of some unscrupulous businessmen and women in Nigeria, with the collaboration of their foreign partners have created very much havoc to the lives of Nigerians. But the protection Agencies like NAFDAC and SON said “NO” to these unscrupulous business people. However, consumer protection is increasingly becoming a topical issue in Nigeria and other places. Consumer protection and regulatory agencies are set up to ensure that wholesome foods, efficacious medicine and safe cosmetics are made available to the consumers. The agencies are to protect the well being of consumers by ensuring that hazards attendant to food consumption and medicine intake are totally eliminated thereby improving the quality of life. Nevertheless, consumers are constantly abused, but they have in most cases remained unresponsive to various forms of trade malpractices, which is as a result of their ignorance, poor education, lack of interest and will power. Consumers have been ignored and this places consumers in a disadvantaged position relative to the seller or producer. Many laws have been passed to improve the consumer’s condition but they remain violated and ineffective only for the consumer to still remain at the mercy of producers and sellers. The consumer is the weaker of the two forces, the seller and producer and therefore, requires the intervention of a third party (Protection agencies) to survive. There are some agencies and regulatory bodies, which in one way or another take measures aimed at protecting consumers. Some of these agencies include: – Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), which ensures that product conform to a specific standard. Products that met standard are usually given the right to use the sign and number for that specific product. Another agency is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which has been merged with Department of Pharmaceutical services of recent. This ministry closed down some drug firm and pharmaceutical companies that are involved in flooding the country with fake drugs. Then comes National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is the case of this research work. The agency has the mandate to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, sale and use of food, drug, cosmetics medical devices, chemicals, packaged water and other drinks. No individuals can rightly and safely declare the constituents of his favourite imported or local products just with his sensory organs, it is near impossible. This is because to do such requires:

  • Determining the condition under which the product is manufactured.
  • Ascertaining its physiochemical and microbiological constituents.
  • Determining the toxicity of the product on human being.
  • Ensuring that their constituent is what the label says it is etc.

Since no individual consumer or group manufacturer can do this solely and without prejudice, it behooves the government (neither the manufacture nor the consumer) to set up a factual body to exercise this duty. In any case this research is aimed at assessing the activities of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as a consumer protection agency in Nigeria.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS

NAFDAC has adopted very many strategies for eradication of fake products that are harmful to consumers. These strategies are established but some of them are not fully implemented. Therefore, the problem of this study is to assess these strategies and find out how they are implemented in order to fully protect the consumers and whether they are really implemented. Moreover, the agency is faced with challenges that affect their effectiveness. The unscrupulous manufacturers and sellers see this agency as their problem and they try to pave their way. Agents (middlemen) sometimes, are not left out of this offence. It has been prove that middlemen engage in the twin evil of faking and adulterating products. They are by this, exposing consumers to unsafe health conditions. This obviously, is not in consonance with the philosophy of the marketing concept. (Guardian Newspaper, 29th January 2008). The marketing concept assumes that the ultimate aim of a business is to satisfy the target market at a profitable volumes in the most efficient manner, through proper identification of the needs and wants of such target markets. According to Ifezue (1990:40) marketing concept is a philosophy of business that states that the consumer protection for NAFDAC, is ensuring that every consumer of regulatory product in Nigeria and beyond, gets value for their money. This was why the agency saw the need to mandatory registration of register all food, drug and other related products by manufacturers, importers, exporters etc as a way of protecting consumers from any product that poses as a health hazard. This is essential as the consumer takes these product on trust and has no way of assessing or knowing their composition, usefulness or safety like ordinary commodities of commerce.

1.3  OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study are:

  1. To examine the extent of consumer protection policies in Nigeria with emphasis on the National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC).
  2. To examine the efforts of NAFDAC in regulating the operations and the activities of both local manufacturers and importers of food drug and cosmetics.
  3. To give a clear definition to what is regarded as fake and substandard drug and food.
  4. To ascertain also the extent of consumer awareness of consumer protection laws and rights in Nigeria.
  5. To determine the desirability or otherwise of more consumer protection legislation in Nigeria.
  6. To know the extent at which the principles “caveat emptor” has been provided for consumer protection.

1.4  HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY

The following hypotheses which will be tested later for acceptance or rejection has been formulated for the study. They are:

  1. HO: The activities of the regulatory bodies does not prevent the increment in the circulation of adulterated products effectively.

HI:        The activities of the regulatory bodies prevent the increment in the circulation of adulterated products effectively.

  1. HO: The consumer’s choice of products are not dependent on the increasing exposure of adulterated and fake products by consumer protection agencies.

    HI:    The consumer’s choice of products are dependent on the increasing exposure of adulterated and        fake products by the consumer protection agencies.

  1. HO: The consumer protection agencies and laws does not have great bearing on the decision and activities of manufacturers as relates to production of consumer products.

    HI:    The consumer protection agencies have great bearing on the decision and activities of   manufacturers as it relates to production of consumers products.

1.5   THE SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This study is concerned with consumer products and it covers the household products i.e. those products that consumer deal with every day, which include drugs, cosmetics, food, drinks etc. This research work was constrained by some problems such as:

        Financial Constraints: During the course of the research a little financial problem was experienced because it cost a lot of money going to NAFDAC office to obtain relevant information and also to the Consumer Awareness Office and as well as the Money involved in Xeroxing of the relevant materials for literature review.

Moreover, it was not all that easy for the agency (NAFDAC) to release the needed information at first they were reluctant to do so and this affected the time of study adversely.

This project also suffered set back from the non-existence of enough academic literature on NAFDAC. Most of the information contained in this work was obtained from magazines, the Internet, newspapers and oral interviews.

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study is of great importance to the consumers, manufacturers, consumer protection agencies and the government in their operation.

The problem which cuts across various products field, is noticeable on the supply of products. Most often, consumers find themselves saddled with shoddy products or even non-performance products. Unfortunately, they rarely seek redress due to a number of reasons; the most prominent reason is ignorance about the extent of protection awarded by the law. It is important to know that the effectiveness of the consumer protection agencies has a great influence on the consumers in choosing their product. The supply of fake products, which denies him (the consumer) proper worth of his money, worse still the product may be injurious to health thus exposing him to health hazard is being reduced to the barest minimum through the agencies. For the manufacturers of genuine products, this study is very vital to them, for them to be aware of the level of protection. For if the level of protection is very low such producer is exposed to unnecessary competition with fake product by manufactures whose products are invariably cheaper in price. However, the manufacturers can now take advantage of the conducive atmosphere created.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

Project Topic: Assessing National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as a Consumer Protection Agency in Nigeria

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