The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has disclosed that the street value of tramadol worth over N1.7 trillion was destroyed by the agency alone in 2019.
This is even as it announced that the agency will begin to test for imported Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) before they are used to formulate drugs in the country.
Making the revelation during the Pharma Stakeholder Engagement organised by NAFDAC in Lagos recently, the Director General of the agency, Prof. Christiana Mojisola Adeyeye said the regulatory body has rolled out plans to achieve 60 per cent local production of pharmaceutical products by 2020 in the country.
She said NAFDAC in collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service has commenced the destruction of seized consignments of substandard and falsified medical products while a total of 40feet 24 containers have been destroyed.
She said: “Over 250 containers suspected to contain tramadol or unregistered substandard and falsified medicines are undergoing examination before they are released for destruction. Tramadol with an estimated street value of N1.7 trillion has also been destroyed.
“When we got information that about 21 containers of tramadol were coming to Nigeria, I was almost crying that what have we done to them to want to destroy our people?
“Tramadol alters the state of mind. It is killing our young people; that is why we are not taking them lightly. It destroys families. It destroys workforce.
Our enforcement and investigation inspectorate department are on top of this.”
Adeyeye who recalled that the removal of NAFDAC at the ports in 2011 up to 2018 worsened the problem of substandard, falsified, illicit drugs and unwholesome foods in the country, said since the return of NAFDAC at the port in May 2018, the agency has seized and destroyed substandard and unwholesome food products worth over N3 billion.
She said: “We are trying to put back the systems that were destroyed for seven years. Unfortunately, we cannot put back lives that were destroyed and killed. We cannot put some pieces of life back.
“To curb substandard, falsified and counterfeit medicines, NAFDAC has deployed multifaceted strategies including enforcement of regulation and control of APIs imported into the country to ensure they meet the required standards for manufacturing.”
Speaking at the event, the President of Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN), Pharmacist Nnamdi Obi said whether one is a local manufacturer of medicines in Nigeria or an importer, it was important that all products made available to Nigerians conform to international acceptable standards.
He however lamented that there was a deficiency of infrastructure for either the manufacturer or as an importer. He applauded the DG NAFDAC for her achievements so far in ensuring that Nigerians have safe medicines.
On his part, the Publicity Secretary of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Mr. Oluwatosin Jolayemi affirmed that achieving the 60 per cent local drug manufacturing in the country in the five years was possible because a lot of companies have improved and achieved capacity.
“Capacity is being improved on a daily basis; a lot of factories are being expanded. A lot of machineries are being bought, but not all installed capacity was being used,” he said.