26 July 2017

Nigeria: No 'Killer' Anti-Malaria Drugs in Nigeria, Says NAFDAC

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(file photo).

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said that there are no 'killer' anti-malaria drugs in Nigeria.

The Acting Director-General, NAFDAC, Dr. Yetunde Oni, who stated this yesterday at a news conference in Lagos, said the reports in the social media on the 'kidney-killer' malaria drugs were false as there are no such drugs in the country.

Against the backdrop of the dangers posed by the drugs, the Senate had flayed the NAFDAC and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for not adequately waging the war against the influx of fake and sub-standard items into the country.

The NAFDAC boss said the allegedly banned drugs are oral monotherapies containing single Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) such as Artesunate as contained in Arinate tablet, Amodiaquine contained in Comoquine, Dihydroartemisinin contained in Alaxin tablets and Pyrimethamine contained in Daraprim tablets which are not recommended for the treatment of malaria in Nigeria.

She said the agency is committed to the well-being of Nigerians and so wishes to douse the tension and correct the misinformation on the social media and mainstream media about the banned drugs.

Oni said: "We want to douse the tension and correct the misinformation on the social and mainstream media about the 42 anti-malaria medicines purportedly banned by the European Union (EU) but allegedly circulating in the country.

The Acting DG, therefore, urged Nigerians to use the recommended anti-malarial medicine Artemisin Combination Therapies (ACTs) for the treatment of malaria, which is in line with the guidelines according to the WHO and the Nigeria National Anti-malarial Treatment Policy.

She, however, noted that with the progress made in the anti-counterfeiting technology device (Scratch and Text) put in place by the agency to monitor fake drugs, the agency would in some weeks deploy software on phones to checkmate the status of any NAFDAC regulated products.

Responding on the use of chloroquine as an anti-malarial drug, Director, Registration and Regulation Affairs, NAFDAC, Mrs. Titi Owolabi, said though the drug is in the market, it does not serve as anti-malaria as it has its own functions.

She urged Nigerians to stop using the drug in the treatment of malaria as it serves another purpose.

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