…Moves to reduce substandard, falsified drugs***
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye on Monday called for stiffer punishment for drug traffickers and importers of illegal drugs into the country.
Adeyeye made the call in Abuja during a news conference, decrying what she described as light sentences handed to peddlers of Tramadol and counterfeit drugs, while urging the judiciary to review the penalties.
”It breaks my heart that a sentence of five years imprisonment or N250,000 fine is given to someone that is trafficking Tramadol that is killing our youths, destroying homes and casting shadows on the future of Nigeria.
“I am pleading with the judiciary to look at the consequences of narcotic on our homes and review the sentences,” she said.
She commended the Federal Government for its support in terms of equipment, adding that the agency is having it better in the present administration.
Adeyeye also said that 12 different individuals were caught with large amount of substandard and falsified medicine, some of which had been destroyed.
She said that some of them were being investigated or prosecuted, while some had been sentenced.
She disclosed that the agency had destroyed substandard and falsified medical products worth more than N3 billion between November 2017 and November 2018.
“The agency in conjunction with the Nigeria Customs Service have began the destruction of seized consignments of substandard and falsified medical products especially Tramadol.
“A total of 24 containers of the products have been destroyed,” she said.
Meanwhile, the NAFDAC Boss has vowed to reduce substandard and falsified medicines to five per cent prevalence by 2025 in the country, highlighting that one of the strategic plan of NAFDAC was to reduce substandard and falsified medicines to “not more than five per cent prevalence” in Nigeria by the year 2025.
She said that “the last data we have on prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines in Nigeria is 16.7 per cent.”
She, however, added that the 16.7 per cent prevalence was 14 years ago, noting that it was time the agency did another survey to determine the present percentage of prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines in the country.
Adeyeye explained that NAFDAC had been proactive and vigilant toward curbing substandard and falsified medicines in the country, stressing that the move became necessary to safeguard the health of the populace.
She said that the agency would make it mandatory to identify and test the active pharmaceutical ingredient in all imported and locally manufactured drugs in the country from January 2020.
This, according to her, is to ensure compliance with international standards.
The director general noted that beside safeguarding the health of the people, the regulatory control would also build confidence in Nigerians about the medicines available in the country.
Adeyeye, who said that substandard drugs could come through importation, explained that NAFDAC started enforcing regulations and control of active pharmaceutical ingredients of all drugs imported or manufactured locally in 2019.
He added that the agency had been requesting for the drug master file that had the history of processing and safety of the drugs.
She said that in 2018, the agency started a country-wide inspection of 165 companies, using international standard to ascertain Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliance.
Adeyeye added that part of the GMP was the use of appropriate manufacturing equipment and facilities by manufacturers to ensure adequate control.
She said that measures were also put in place for production of quality products.