The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has expressed its commitment to eliminating substandard and falsified medicines in the country through partnership with pre-shipment agents in China and India.
Director general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who expressed this in a statement, said the move is part of the agency's efforts to take
the war against importation of illicit drugs to the source countries.
According to her, "safeguarding the health of Nigeria means making sure that all regulated products that NAFDAC is in charge of have the expected quality. This means ensuring robust control of the manufacture, the distribution, the advertisement, the sale and the use of these products using international standards, in line with our mandate."
Speaking on "NAFDAC And Your Health", in Abuja, against the background of Nigeria's 60th Independence Anniversary, Prof. Adeyeye noted that 70 per cent of the medicines used in Nigeria are imported while only 30 per cent are produced locally, stressing that attention must be paid to both imported and locally made drugs by the agency.
She said that imported drugs used in Nigeria are mostly from China and India, noting that "NAFDAC is now going to the source to ensure that we do pre-shipment analysis".
She noted that although pre-shipment analysis had always been there even before she came on board as the DG of NAFDAC, there were loopholes in that process that are now blocked.
She stated that she travelled to China and India with a few staff last year to meet the agents that were given the responsibility many years
back, adding that the riot act was read to them and they now understood that they are responsible for making sure that the products sampled and analyzed by them in their home countries are of quality.
The laboratories were approved based on the analysis they do on the products that are shipped to Nigeria. The NAFDAC boss however said loopholes were found in the process and NAFDAC had to withdraw the approval granted to one of the Clean Report Inspection Agents (CRIA) and several laboratories.
Speaking further, she said, "In the past, the laboratories used to be under the control of the agents. We visited about 19 laboratories across China and India. And we gave them the criteria that they must meet before we choose them as laboratories that can be analyzing products that will come to Nigeria."
Prof. Adeyeye stated that both NAFDAC and the agents are now on the same page, adding that the CRIAs now work closely with the laboratories, insisting that they have to ensure that the laboratories have the equipment and wherewithal to do the analysis.
She explained that NAFDAC now receives CRIA agents' reports almost daily on consignments that are suspect, saving the country the huge impact of being turned into a dumping ground for counterfeit medicines. This stringency has started yielding dividends as NAFDAC now has encouraging reports from the CRIA Agents and NAFDAC now deals directly with the laboratories used in China and India by the pre-shipment agents.
"We are starting from the source to ensure that the medical products or drugs that come into Nigeria are of quality", she said.