Nigeria: AHF Press Conference Calls Attention to Sub-Standard HIV Medication

Treatment Action Movement (TAM), a coalition of HIV treatment activists across Nigeria, in collaboration with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF-Nigeria) have launched a campaign aimed at eliminating the supply of sub-standard ARVs at treatment centers in Nigeria
AHF Nigeria, the local branch of global health organization AIDS Healthcare Foundation, teamed up with a coalition of Nigerian HIV activist organizations for a press conference on October 24 in the capital city of Abuja, where they called on the government to stop filling Nigerian treatment centers with sub-standard antiretroviral (ARV) medications to treat HIV/AIDS.

One of the brands causing the groups concern is Tyonex Nigeria Ltd., which supplies the AZT/3TC/NVP and the TDF/3TC combinations of ARVs with funding from the MDGs funds through the Federal Ministry of Health.

The non-governmental organizations (NGOs) assert the Tyonex ARV pills are brittle, break easily and dissolve in one's mouth before swallowing, and furthermore the package presentation is substandard,
 with poor labeling that res-
embles the work of professional counterfeit drugs peddlers. For example, some of the labels were actually upside down with conflicting and incorrect instructions for use.
“One of our patients observed that one of the packages she collected in a treatment centre contained 54 tablets and a broken half instead of 60. This is 27 days’ supply of drugs with a half tablet that is of no use for a pack that is expected to last for 30 days," said Steve Aborisade, a key member of TAM.

"The drug literature was stuffed inside the same plastic pack as the ARVs, giving little assurance for hygienic handling of the tablets during packaging. Additionally, the information about the drug provided under “Presentation” on the front side of the literature conflicts with what is written under “Package” on the reverse side of the same literature,” Aborisade added.

Abuja press conference - October 24, 2013
"If this product could easily fail requisite physical composition, will it not fail the bigger test of chemical composition in quality and content?" said Kemi Gbadamosi, AHF Nigeria's Advocacy and Marketing Manager.

"We note the risks posed to patients in terms of poor compliance, adherence and poor treatment outcomes which can lead to unfavorable results for several thousand Nigerians who have had no choice but to swallow what Tyonex is now supplying."

For more photos from the event, click here.

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