Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili OFR was a pharmacist and government administrator who gained international recognition.
She was also the director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from 2001 to 2008.
In 1998, Prof. Dora Akunyili began the movement to stop the sales and consumption of fake drugs in Nigeria. This was after her 21 years old sister died from an injection of fake insulin as part of regular diabetes treatment in 1998.
She put together a team of mostly female pharmacists and inspectors and started a war against counterfeit drugs that saw many open-air medicine markets across the country closed down. Additionally, her officers confiscated £140,000 worth of fake drugs.
As of June 2006, she was reported to have secured convictions for 45 counterfeiters with 56 cases pending. Her efforts further led to increased public awareness about counterfeit drugs and more direct and purposeful surveillance of Nigerian customs.
She later became the Minister of Information and Communications after leaving her role as the DG of NAFDAC in 2008.
During her lifetime, she received 820 awards.
Two years after her death, her husband discovered 150 more awards packed safely in her boxes. Bringing her total awards to 970.
No other Nigerian has won more.
She died on 7 June 2014 after a battle with uterine cancer.
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