• Moves against open market sale of drugs
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has destroyed substandard and falsified (SF) medical products worth more than N3.2 billion in the last two years. It disclosed its intention to dismantle open markets for drugs across the country, promising to make available credible alternatives.
NAFDAC also called on the Federal Government to reduce income duties on imported raw materials used for drug manufacturing and increase incentives for local drug manufacturers.
Director-general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, while briefing journalists on the efforts to eliminate substandard, adulterated and unsafe drugs and medical devices in the country yesterday, said that the agency, in conjunction with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), had commenced the destruction of seized medical products (especially Tramadol), adding that 24 (40ft) containers of the products had been destroyed.
She noted that with effect from January 2020, the agency would begin testing of active pharmaceutical ingredients for all drugs to ensure compliance with international standards. Her words, “The public health implications of SFs are numerous, and these include increased hospital admissions, prolonged stay in the hospital, development of resistance (drug resistance or multi-drug resistance or cross resistance), treatment failures and death.
“All these lead to the increased cost of controlling disease, increased out-of-pocket expenses, increased human suffering, loss of confidence in the healthcare system, and increased burden on the healthcare system.”
She noted that SF medicines had become a global problem that presents enormous public health challenges in developed and developing countries.
According to her, plans are underway to commence trans-national border cooperation between NAFDAC and neighbouring countries to strengthen their post-marketing activities, reduce SF and improve the quality of medicines in such communities.
The NAFDAC boss said that one of the agency’s strategic plans was to reduce SF medicines to five per cent or below prevalence in Nigeria by 2025.“Globally, the prevalence is about 10 per cent. The last data we have on prevalence of SFs in Nigeria is 16.7 per cent, but that was about 14 years ago. Thus, it is high time we did the survey on the prevalence,” she added.