NAFDAC destroys N1.7tr tramadol, plans 60% local drug production

Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Christianah Adeyeye (fourth right), with representatives of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) destroying tramadol and other restricted drugs in Lagos…yesterday.

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has destroyed tramadol with street value of over N1.7 trillion since January 2019. Disclosing this to The Guardian yesterday, the agency also announced plans to begin tests for imported Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) before they are used to formulate drugs in the country.

Meanwhile, the agency has rolled out plans to achieve 60 percent local production of pharmaceutical products by 2020 in the country. Making these revelations and more during Pharma Stakeholder Engagement organised by NAFDAC in Lagos, the Director-General, Prof. Christianah Adeyeye, said that the agency, in collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), had commenced the destruction of seized consignments of Substandard and Falsified (SF) medical products, while 24(nos) 40-ft containers had been destroyed.

“Over 250 containers suspected to contain tramadol or unregistered SF medicines are undergoing examination before they are released for destruction.“Tramadol, with an estimated street value of N1,702,692,250,000 have also been destroyed,” she disclosed.She explained that when the agency got information that about 21 containers of tramadol were coming to Nigeria, she was almost crying, wondering what the country had done to deserve destruction.

“Tramadol alters the state of mind. It is killing our young people. That is why we are not taking them lightly. It destroys families; it destroys workforce. Our Enforcement and Investigation Inspectorate Department is on top of this,” she added.

Adeyeye, who recalled that the removal of NAFDAC at the ports in 2011 up to 2018 worsened the problem of SF, illicit drugs and unwholesome foods in the country, said since the return of NAFDAC at the ports in May 2018, the agency had seized and destroyed SFs and unwholesome food products worth over N3 billion.

“We are trying to put back the systems that were destroyed for seven years that we were out of the port. Unfortunately, we cannot put back lives that were destroyed. We cannot put some pieces of life back.

“To curb SF and counterfeit medicines, NAFDAC has deployed multifaceted strategies, including enforcement of regulation and control of APIs imported into the country to ensure they meet the required standards for manufacturing,” she said.She further disclosed that the agency had rolled out plans to encourage local manufacturers to achieve at least 60 percent of local production of drugs.

To this end, NAFDAC has also reduced the number of registered imported products to encourage local manufacturing and innovations.President of the Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN), Nnamdi Obi, said whether one was a local manufacturer of medicines in Nigeria or an importer, it was important that all products made available to Nigerians should conform to international acceptable standards.He lamented that there was a deficiency of infrastructure for either a manufacturer or an importer, applauding the NAFDAC boss for her achievements so far in ensuring that Nigerians have safe medicines.

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Christianah AdeyeyeNAFDAC
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