Tackling Nigeria’s Thriving Counterfeit Drug Market

Nigeria accounts for over 60% of West Africa’s medications. In 2015, about 17% of all generic drugs were fakes, accounting for over 100,000 deaths a year across sub-Saharan Africa.
Enter Vivian Nwakah’s startup, Medsaf—founded in 2017 after a friend’s death from phony anti-malaria medication—which links pharmacies and hospitals with authentic, affordable meds via a digital platform. Nwakah has plans to expand but faces impediments like Nigerian bureaucracy and sourcing safe drugs.
“Nigeria has turned into a dumping ground for lesser-quality variants from other countries,” says Lagos physician Zubair Abdulahi. “Without a government clampdown, Medsaf’s efforts will not quite do anything constructive.”

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