By Salisu Sani-Idris
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has procured 40 detection devices to enable the agency track, trace, monitor and curb the influx of bad medicine in the country.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Adeyeye said that the agency heightened enforcement and ensure stringent financial management because it need tools to go after the people that are bringing bad medicine into the country.
“Because of the money we are saving we need to purchase detection devices to put it on a tablet if it is a paracetamol it will show paracetamol but the new version of it will show paracetamol 85 per cent instead of 100 so it’s best qualitatively and quantitatively.
“Each of the devices is about 57,000 dollars and we bought 40 because we know our problems in Nigeria. NAFDAC was out of the port for almost seven years.
” And we became the haven of bad medicines everybody will say take to Nigeria there is nobody there and we have five countries surrounding us. People just work in and work out.
” So those are the peculiarities we faced while we needed the tools that we need to use like this small detection devices. We procured them and trained our staff to know how to use it.”
She revealed that this device allows for more accurate detection of drugs formulation.
“Before they could only say ok it is paracetamol they will not know whether it is 65, 10 or 100 per cent. Now the new version can do both, however, it is costlier.
”Before I came 70 to 80 per cent of our laboratory equipment were not working. Companies were sending vehicles for us to come and inspect them before I came.
” Who will not know that there will be compromise, if a company you want to inspect send you vehicles to come and inspect you know what it means.
” So things have to be put in place. Whatever we are able to do with the little we had, we did that almost breaking our backs but we needed to do a holistic reorganisations and refocusing which took us from the 2018 to like 2019.
” We started using the Quality Management System at the same time we went on the WHO global beach marking that give us Maturity Level Three after four years. But meanwhile the little money we are saving we started buying vehicles.”
She said that the agency enforcement became heightened and go to trade fairs where the enforcement team may carry 40 truck of medicine and cosmetics that were not registered.
” A lot of raid that they have done on trade fair is of goods worth billions of Naira. So we heighten it and we started destroying. They were destroyed before I came but the frequency may be not be high because it is money that we used.”
She said that the activities of the agency was being monitored by the WHO, adding that they came in 2019 to examine the NAFDAC level of self-audit.
“WHO came in 2019 and said we need to do better then and we said yes you are right we need to do better than in some areas. Bear in mind we started with 878 recommendations in 2018 and by 2019 June we have reduced it to 147.
” But the work has not finished even now the work has not finished. So we strengthen our pharmaco vigilance and post marketing surveillance.” (NAN)
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz