Cost of pain relievers soar on back of abuse


March 8, 2018 | 12:44 am
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Prices of pain relievers have increased astronomically over increased demand especially from youths, who use them without doctor’s prescription.

With the exception of paracetamol, a recent market survey carried out by BusinessDay in a number of pharmaceutical and drug retail outlets across Lagos, showed that prices of some pain relievers have increased a 1000 percent in the last two years.

Most notably of these drugs is Tramadol, the drug is now over a 1000 times more expensive selling for N1500-3000 for a pack depending on the location as against N300 as at 2009. Oxycodone (OxyContin) sells in some of the shops visited for close to N3000 as against N250 two years ago, Codeine is also around the same range.

Fortuin injection used for crashing post-operative pains, is currently selling for N20,000 per pack of 100 bulbs in the shops, compared to about N7,500 previously.

The increasing demand for these drugs was highlighted again on February 05, when the Nigeria Police force paraded a 40-year-old for selling pain relievers to two primary school pupils, which included tramadol.

Just recently also a Twitter user @KoloKennethK tweeted his account of a major drug bust involving billions of naira worth of Tramadol at Lagos’ Apapa Port.

“Thirty-nine million tablets of Tramadol, worth N3bn with above prescription quantity per tablet seized at Apapa”, the tweet read.

Chibuzor Ike who owns a drug store in Oyingbo said, in the last two years he has sold pain relievers at different prices, the more the demand the higher the prices.

“Tramadol especially is for elderly people suffering from severe pains, these days you get young boys coming to you to buy the whole sachet, containing a tablet of 500 milligram, that same person will come again to buy it a week later. It will interest you to know that one pack contains 10 tablets, the way it is demanded you begin to wonder what it is used for” Ike said.

While noting he only sells it to specific individuals and secretly, he said pain relievers are some of the most priced drugs in his stores.

Chibuzor Opera co-founder of Drugstoc also confirmed the development to BusinessDay noting that the increase in retail prices for such drugs could be as a result of abuse of opioid drugs.

Some Nigerians who spoke to BusinessDay said they are unable to purchase drugs as a result of this development and are having pathetic stories to tell especially for their elderly ones.

It is a concern for us, my father is lying down in the house, and uses some of the drugs but we are now forced to pay more for it, a particular pain reliever, which we bought a tablet for N70 is now sold for N150.

John Chukwuji, in Apapa said pain dictates his life in the last two years, ever since he was involved in an accident but he is now forced to pay more for specific drugs prescribed by his doctor.

Also affected are Tylenol, Panadol, Excedrin, and Tylenol in 500 mg tablets.

Aspirin regarded as one of the oldest pain relievers used in modern medicine and perhaps the cheapest, commonly manufactured as 81mg or 325 mg tablets for minor aches and pains, cold, headache, and muscle ache is also not spared as its prices also increased by 40 percent, some of which includes Anacin, Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin.



March 8, 2018 | 12:44 am
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