…Cautions against substandard, fake drugs
In its bid to provide unrestricted access to medications that are safe, effective, inexpensive, and of the needed quality, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has advocated for a synergy between the Nigerian and Indian pharmaceutical sectors.
The Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, at the India-Nigeria Pharmaceuticals and Health Industry Forum.
The forum’s goal was to offer practical steps for establishing, realizing, and enhancing mutual benefits for pharmaceutical business in both countries.
She stated that the demographic dynamics, health indices, and forecast for the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria and India give a shared starting point for strong synergy between both countries.
Adeyeye said it’s without any iota of hesitation to state that these indicators hitherto mentioned are reasons why the regulatory landscape between both countries must of necessity be explored for the good of their citizens.
In a statement by the Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, in Lagos on Sunday, Adeyeye also noted strong correlation in economic indices in both countries which places them on the list of World Bank emerging markets thus creating objective evidence and the need for mutuality and strong bilateral cooperation.
She pointed out that no single country, no matter how endowed, can meet all of its national drug needs and yet the universal health coverage within the context of the sustainable development goals must be achieved, adding that one expedited mechanism for meeting essential drug need is through a proposition for mutually beneficial cooperation between regulatory agencies.
According to her, Nigeria was a huge beneficiary of this during the last global pandemic when a substantial quantity of COVID-19 vaccines was obtained from Serum Institute India, noting that this was typically made possible through the active intervening role of the India National Regulatory Authority NRA (The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
As a responsible National Regulatory Agency, Prof. Adeyeye, however, said that NAFDAC will continue to forge meaningful alliance within the confines of its mandate, relevant legislation and in line with global best practice.
As a ML3 Agency, she said that the Agency is strongly averse to unethical practices, noting that NAFDAC will not fail to protect public health through enforcement of appropriate sanctions when and where the need arises.
She warned that a situation where unscrupulous persons or manufacturers under the guise of convergence and cooperation, knowingly or unknowingly, engage in clandestine practices that violate extant regulations which constitutes significant risks to public health will not be treated with kid gloves.
NAFDAC’s mandate is to safeguard public health and we are not in any way about to give up on this obligation’’, she said.
She added that some local and foreign manufacturers are currently sanctioned for unreputable practices and post marketing failures.
She pointed out that her transformative agenda in NAFDAC which include but not limited to attainment of WHO Maturity Level 4 status, attainment of vaccine lot release, supply chain monitoring and expanded post marketing surveillance, continual pharmacovigilance activities are enough justification for promotion of strong synergy between the India-Nigeria Pharma sector.
According to the NAFDAC boss, India is the largest trading partner of Nigeria and Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa with bilateral trade in the region of over 13.89 billion USD as of 2019.
She added that Indian owned/operated companies are the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria with huge foreign direct investment in engineering, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, chemicals, and the pharmaceutical sector.