The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 25 percent of medicines consumed in some developing countries, including Nigeria, are counterfeit or substandard.
Painting the stark scenario at a seminar in Lagos, Lekan Asuni, President of the Association of Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM), described the situation as a global challenge requiring swift counter-measures.
He said that drug counterfeiting exposes consumers to dangerous and ineffective products and retailers to reduced consumer demand and profits.
"It deprives governments of revenues for vital services, it forces higher burdens on taxpayers and dislocates hundreds of thousands of jobs."
Asuni said that the WHO estimates global sales of counterfeit medicines at over $40 billion a year.
"And we all know that Nigeria is not left out of this crisis," he added.
He blamed inadequate legislation, weak enforcement and a poor distribution system for encouraging drug-counterfeiting in the country.