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Over 50% Imported Pharmaceutical Products Into Nigeria Is Fake, Says NAFDAC

ABUJA, Nigeria – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has classified more than 50 percent of certificates of pharmaceutical products imported into Nigeria as fake.

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ engagement meeting with regulators, policymakers, and law enforcement agencies on Monday in Abuja.

She said that Nigeria and other countries in Africa had agreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that products coming to the region are of quality through the issuance of quality assurance certificates.

The certificate of pharmaceutical products is issued in the format recommended by the WHO, and it establishes the status of the pharmaceutical product and the applicant for the certificate in the exporting country.

It is for a single product only, since manufacturing arrangements and approved information for different dosage forms and different strengths can vary.

Adeyeye said the goal of the engagement meeting with the stakeholders is to ensure that medical products in circulation are of the right quality, safe, and efficacious.

She noted that substandard and falsified products are threatening access to safe, efficacious, and affordable medicines and undermining the achievement of universal health coverage in Nigeria and Africa.

“We have 55 countries in Africa, and we belong to the member states globally. We agreed to ensure that products coming to the region are of quality, and WHO created a scheme called a certificate of pharmaceutical product. What this means is that if we send a certificate of pharmaceutical product out to another country, we are assuring the receiving country that it will be of quality.

“Most of our medicines come from Southeast Asia, and we belong to the member states too. We have a scheme where before medicines that were approved leave that part of the world, we do pre-shipment testing, and that comes with CPP to assure us of quality, but that is not the case because, through our scheme, we have been able to stop over 140 products that were approved from coming in.

“We found out that more than 50 percent of the CPPs that come into our country are fake. Part of the responsibility is our people that go to China or India, and we are going to deal with it. It’s a member state issue, and we are going to deal with it.

“We are more stringent than ever, and there is no cutting of corners. We have blacklisted many companies, and we have sanctioned them because we want people to respect our own people.

“Trade is a mutual agreement, and if that agreement is harming one part of the agreement, we will stop it. If a company is suspected of compromising, in two hours we will be there, and we will shut the company down,” she noted.

The NAFDAC boss lamented that the high prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines in Africa had become a major threat to public health.

According to her, the prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines in the region is due to limited regulatory processes.

“Only about 10 percent of national regulatory agencies have attained maturity level three. What leads to maturity level three is market control, and that is one of the nine models of maturity level three, so we have a lot of work to do in Africa.

“The NAFDAC’s mandate puts a burden on us to see a reduction in substandard and falsified medicines, both the ones that are locally manufactured and the ones that are imported.

“NAFDAC is doing its best to fight substandard and falsified medicines and products based on three thematic areas, which are to prevent, detect, and respond. It is a community effort to fight this, and we seek partnerships to find out lapses so we can fight it,” she stated.

In 2022, the WHO certified NAFDAC as a stable, well-functioning, and integrated regulatory system with a maturity level 3 rating scale of the Global Benchmarking Tool.

By doing so, NAFDAC is eligible for inclusion in the transitional WHO Listed Authority, a list that will comprise the world’s regulators of reference—that is, regulatory authorities that should be globally recognised as meeting WHO and other international standards.

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