The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has put its Ports Inspection Directorate and all ports and borders in the country on the alert, following reports of possible circulation of medicines/drugs from China contaminated with human remains from fetuses, infants’ flesh and viruses, which might be brought into the country as small packages.
In a statement, yesterday, NAFDAC’s Director General, Dr. Moji Christianah Adeyeye, said it had been informed by the Federal Ministry of Health, yesterday, of such drugs from China, adding that its Pharmacovigilance and Post-Marketing Directorate had also been alerted to conduct surveillance in local markets.
The statement said NAFDAC’s Registration and Regulatory Affairs Directorate was also on the lookout, with the aim of safeguarding the health of the country, while the Director General has contacted her counterpart in South Korea for additional information, since the news was disseminated by Nigerian and South Korean intelligence agencies, promising to keep the public updated.
This is just as pharmacists, under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) alerted the Federal Government of possible circulation of such medicines/drugs in Nigeria.
The PSN, yesterday, at a press conference ahead of its 91st Annual National Conference scheduled for Ibadan, Oyo State, from October 29 to November 3, with the theme, ‘Innovative Disruption in Pharmacy in Emerging Economies: A Road Map for Nigeria,’ advised the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Customs and other security agencies to remain on high alert to safeguard the health of the public.
The Society blamed the situation on dependence on imported drugs, occasioned by high productivity cost, very prohibitive interest rate of 22 per cent and poor infrastructure that discourage local production.
President of PSN, Ahmed I. Yakasai, said a safety alert from the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug has made it necessary to address significant threats posed by inadequate implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).
Yakasai said: “The document identified drug products containing ‘human remains from fetuses, infants and flesh’ heavily contaminated with viruses (bio-hazards), which were smuggled into South Korea via mail by Chinese nationals for local use.”
He said for medicines security, the government must, as a matter of urgency, take critical action to implement the national drug policy to promote local drug production, reduce dependence on imported medicines and implement without further delay the NDDG.
He added that as part of efforts to sanitise the drug distribution system in Nigeria, the PSN would on Tuesday, October 23, in Lagos, launch the Pharma Information Technology for online National Drug Distribution based on NDDG and PSNPay to digitalise the payment and collection of PSN annual capitation and other technical and interest groups of PSN dues both in states and national, as the existing collection process is manual, rigorous and prone to error.