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NAFDAC explains rising cases of drug abuse in Nigeria

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Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye

• Emzor still open to customers
• Pharmaceutical firm refutes claims on production of codeine

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has given reasons for the recent rise in drug abuse in the country even as it alerted to the current weakness in the monitoring of production and distribution in the supply of medicines containing narcotic substances such as codeine.

Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, yesterday, in a statement, explained that the current codeine syrup crisis, which was further exposed by a BBC documentary, is due to: “Inadequate NAFDAC presence at various Entry Ports that has led to significant levels of smuggling together with importation of considerable amounts of products with potential for abuse and attendant non-regulation of such products

“Lack of multidisciplinary stakeholder approach to develop strategies and actions to bring these issues under control.

“Inadequate monitoring of open drug markets by Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health.”

The NAFDAC DG also announced the shutdown of Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State; and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited, Ajao Estate, Lagos.

She said the companies were shut down due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during NAFDAC’s inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies and to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation.

Adeyeye said: “The three companies therefore remain closed. The reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.”

But when The Guardian visited the Emzor facility in Lagos, it was observed that the normal activities were taking place as the workers were seen on their respective regalia going about their duties. Also, The Guardian observed that the car park was also filled, and workers were seen going about their normal routine.

Although, The Guardian was denied entrance, on the basis of direct order, the security personnel present at the gate claimed ignorant of any happenings inside the facility. He said he is not aware of any NAFDAC directive to shut down and whether normal activities are taking place inside the facility.

Even when The Guardian pleaded to speak with the Public Relation Officer (PRO) or any of the management on the issue, the plea was turned citing that none of them were at seat to address the issues.

Also, the management of Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, refuted claims of its involvement in mass producing the banned codeine and dispensing same substance in the town and its environs.

In a statement signed by the management, the company had before the ban, put on hold one of its products, which contained the banned substance in line with the directive of the Federal Government.

The management in the statement promised serious war against drug abuse and pledged better strategies to ensure that leakages of its products no longer thrive among those prone to their abuse.

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