The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has warned of an imminent shortage of drugs in the country if the Coronavirus epidemic continues in China.
The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who spoke at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, on the African Medicine Quality Forum (AMQF) meeting scheduled for February 24 and 28, disclosed that India which Nigeria depends on for a greater percentage of its drug imports, has already been hit by the effects of the virus.
She said while India buys most of their materials and active ingredients from China, Nigeria imports 70 per cent of its medicines as well as active and non-active ingredients from the India.
Adeyeye posited therefore, that Nigeria should be worried about the development since we don’t manufacture anything here except water.
She said: “70 per cent of our drugs are imported and the alarm I am sounding now is one everybody should take seriously. We have drug insecurity because of coronavirus.
“India is already feeling it because they buy most of their materials and active ingredients from China. If India is feeling it, we should start praying because we don’t manufacture anything here except water; we import almost everything – active and non-active ingredients equipment, etcetera.”
The NAFDAC boss also reiterated the warning to Nigerians to desist from cooking food with paracetamol, especially to soften meat.
According to her: “When paracetamol is subjected to heat while cooking with it, it changes to para-aminophenol and benzoquine, which destroys the kidney. We have done a lot of enlightenment because the major problem of our people is ignorance and illiteracy.
“We haven’t made any arrest because to do that, we will need to test the pots of soup containing these substances at our office. Another reason is because we are short of staff, but I think the government is doing something about this.”
Speaking on enforcements against peddlers of fake and substandard medicines, the NAFDAC boss said the agency was working with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), especially in markets that are not approved or those known for substandard medicines.
She stated further that NAFDAC was also in talks with online stores so that any advertiser that want to sell medicine on their platforms is registered with PCN.
Adeyeye added: “Part of our global bench marking is to have qualitative laboratories with well-trained staff. We have been equipping our laboratories on a daily basis in terms of making sure that whatever we test or we want to test, we have equipment for them, and that our tests are reliable.
“We have five ISO accredited laboratories; however, we want the central drug laboratory to be World Health Organization (WHO) pre-qualified.”
The AMQF is a Technical Working Group of African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH), with goal to build and strengthen the capacity of African countries in medicines, quality control and regional post-marketing