The National Agency for the Administration and Control of Food and Medicines (NAFDAC) warned that the current outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, in China, places the country in grave danger of insecurity, since most of our medicines are imported.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, at a press conference on Monday in Abuja, at the next meeting of the African Forum on Quality of Medicine (AMQF), to be held from 24 to 28 February, explained that Nigeria imports 70% of its medicines and other active and non-active ingredients.
According to her, “70% of our medicines are imported and the alarm that I am sounding now is one that everyone should take seriously. We are insecure because of the coronavirus.
“India is already feeling this because it buys most of its materials and active ingredients from China. If India is feeling this, we should start praying because we don’t make anything here, except water; we import almost everything – active and inactive ingredients, equipment, etc.
“So it’s a scary thing, and I emphasize that from day one. We need drug security. As we import 70% of our medicines, we are in trouble if these things happen ”.
The NAFDAC chief also asked people to give up cooking their food with paracetamol, especially the use of the drug to tenderize meat.
“When paracetamol is subjected to heat when cooking with it, it changes to para-aminophenol and benzoquine, which destroys the kidneys. We did a lot of lighting because the main problem for our people is ignorance and illiteracy.
“We didn’t make any arrests because, for that, we will need to test the soup pots that contain these substances in our office. Another reason is that we have few employees, but I think the government is doing something about it,” she said.
Regarding measures against counterfeit and substandard street vendors, Professor Adeyeye said the agency is collaborating with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), especially in markets that are not approved or known for substandard drugs.
She explained that NAFDAC is also negotiating with online stores like Jumia and will continue to pressure them to ensure that any advertiser who wants to sell drugs on their platforms must have been registered with PCN.
Adeyeye added: “Part of our global benchmark is to have qualitative laboratories with well-trained staff. We equip our labs daily to ensure that, regardless of what we test or what we want, we have equipment for them and that our tests are reliable. We have five ISO-accredited laboratories; however, we want the central drug laboratory to be pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO) ”.
AMQF is a Technical Working Group on African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH), with the objective of building and strengthening the capacity of African countries in quality control of medicines and regional post-marketing surveillance that, in turn, will contribute significantly to reduce sub-patterns and counterfeits. medical products in circulation in African markets.
The meeting will convene all members of the AMQF, including its Technical Committee (CT), leadership of USP, AUDA-NEPAD, WHO, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Health Organizations (RHOs), as well as other partners and key stakeholders.