DIRECTOR General, Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Mrs. Dupe Atoki, has alerted on the rising incidence of antibiotics resistance which has caused various medical treatment failures in the country.
Atoki made the assertion on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing the media on activities lined up to mark 2016 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD).
The Council, which joined the international community in raising concerns on the growing cases of antibiotics resistance globally as part of 2016 World consumer Rights Day celebration, emphasised that concerted efforts must be deployed to reverse the trend in the country.
The Diirector-General seized the opportunity to underline the Council’s commitment towards raising the bar of consumer protection in the country.
In her words, “antibiotics resistance “is currently very rampant” in the country, stressing that it “has led to mass failure of medical interventions such as organ transplant, surgeries and other forms of treatment that require follow up actions with antibiotics to ensure full recovery of patients.”
“It has equally led to needless deaths and caused huge embarrassment to health professionals in the country. In Nigeria, the menace of fake, adulterated, counterfeit or sub-standard drugs, noncompliance with dosage as prescribed by medical practitioners, self medication, and unnecessary prescription of antibiotics have been largely implicated in antibiotics resistance in the country,” she added.
The CPC boss therefore counselled consumers against self-medication and mis-use of antibiotics as these could lead to resistance, stressing that “if drugs are misused and become worthless, the consumer does not only lose money, but his health and safety will also be jeopardised, while the national interest suffers.
She stated that the correlation between antibiotic resistance and consumer protection is not far-fetched. Antibiotic resistance impedes the consumer’s right to health and safety, which the Consumer Protection Council Act aims to protect, among others.
While disclosing efforts being made by the Council to enlighten consumers on the problem, Mrs. Atoki stated that the Council would use the next 12 months to carry out advocacy campaigns on proper use of antibiotics by consumers just as a week-long activities, including road shows and a Stakeholders’ Workshop, have been lined up to awaken the consciousness of Nigerians on the dangers of misuse of antibiotics, expressing the hope that the scheduled activities would awaken consumers to the reality of the problem and bring about modification of lifestyles, practices and habits responsible for the menace.
While reviewing the Council’s achievements under her watch, the Director- General said the adoption of sectoral intervention as a consumer protection strategy to achieve best practices in the market-place has yielded enormous benefits to consumers in the food and beverage sector, noting with happiness that “complaints about half-filled cans and foreign substances in drinks, including rusty bottle tops, have greatly reduced.”
Atoki observed that the strategy was already beginning to yield same benefits in the country’s satellite television sector, confirming Multichoice’s compliance to the Council’s order to rearrange the popular sports channels away from the most expensive bouquet, while the remaining far-reaching orders made to improve consumers’ satisfaction will be implemented in accordance with the time line.”
In that wise, she confirmed that the Council will stand with consumers, who in line with Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulations decide not to pay for a disputed bill, including consumers under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation (CAPMI) scheme who refuse to be billed or disconnected after 60 days of not being metered.
Atoki further stated that the Council’s resolve to carry out aggressive advocacy of consumer rights is still on course.
“It is worth noting too that industry compliance with orders of the Council is becoming the norm, compared to the previous recalcitrant and uncooperative attitude of businesses. Reducing the impunity and non-accountability of businesses to consumers did not come easy. It is a feat that has taken some determined efforts to achieve,” The DG emphasised.