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  Dora Akunyili 9 Dec 2005  
Fighting counterfeit drugs in Nigerian hospitals

In recent years, counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs have flooded the Nigerian market - a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation found that more than half the drugs on sale in Nigeria were counterfeit or sub-standard.

Nigeria's hospitals were routinely using fake and contaminated drips, surgeons were using fake adrenalin to re-start hearts, anaesthetists were giving sub-strength muscle relaxant to patients in their operating theatres.

Professor Dora Akunyili is the Director of NAFDAC, the government agency that roots out fake medicines in Nigeria. Her own diabetic sister died from using fake insulin.

Since Dora's appointment in 2001, the amount of counterfeit drugs on the market has been reduced by 50% - but at a cost to Dora's own personal safety - she narrowly avoided being shot, and her family have been threatened.

Earlier this week she was awarded the International Service Human Rights Award at the House of Commons for her work against the counterfeiters.   She talks to Martha about her work.


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