• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Groups urge FG to order immediate systems audit of NAFDAC

Fake drugs: NAFDAC warns distributors to stop supply to parts of Kano markets

…blames agency for high cost of drugs

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have called on the Federal Government to urgently order an immediate systems audit of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) so as to checkmate the activities of the agency.

The health organisation who made the call in a letter addressed to President Tinubu also accused NAFDAC of being responsible for the escalating cost of drugs and other regulated products in the country.

Explaining further, the letter signed by the National Secretary of JOHESU/ AHPA, Matthew Ajurotu read in part: “Various policies at NAFDAC have combined to inflict hardship and bad fortune on Nigerians who find it increasingly difficult to have access to affordable and efficacious drugs in line with the objectives and targets of the National Drug Policy.

“These include; a recent policy paper issued by NAFDAC on the quality of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) used in the manufacture of Finished Pharmaceutical Products (FPPs) for the Nigerian market; payment of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) tariffs by importers; selective and discriminatory sanctions through payment of arbitrary sums of monies for violations in the pharmaceutical value chain; declaration of 50 percent fake products in circulation in Nigeria.

“The memo from NAFDAC and the attendant wish list and expectations is both an open and direct invitation to more fatalities in the Pharmaceutical Sector because of the limitations it imposes on the number of players who can meet the listed condition precedent.

“The direct fallout is more prohibitive cost of drugs at a time your Excellency and the Coordinating Minister of Health keep assuring the citizens of Nigeria that you are doing everything possible to bring down the rising cost of drugs in Nigeria.

“India, which is the biggest source of our APIs and FPPs in Nigeria, has facilitated the growth of its local pharmaceutical industry through friendly and result-oriented goals and objectives such that the local pharma industry in India contributes close to 3 percent of the GDP of

“India today runs policies that are suited for its citizens to compel access to affordable medicines and does not allow itself to be subsumed to the unrealistic massive propensities of global imperialists who continue to manipulate trade and economic balance to permanently tilt in favour of their whims and caprices.

“Nigeria, with poor foundational advances in the pharma industry, is currently enjoying level three ratings, while productive and fruitful India is on level one.

“The only interest of NAFDAC DG, Prof. Adeyeye in this new adventure that is bound to stifle growth in the Nigeria Pharma Industry is to move Nigeria to level 4 rating in an act grounded only in self-glorification.

“We must make the point that the primary responsibility of public officers is to serve and work towards the national interest and certainly not foreign expectations.

“If Prof. Adeyeye seeks a WHO appointment, the FG must encourage her now to quit as DG, NAFDAC for her preferred international job rather than allow her to continue to mess-up genuine attempts to boost the growth of our local industry which is all we have seen in the over 6 years of her stewardship at NAFDAC.”

The organisations in the letter recalled that some stakeholders warned in 2021 that NAFDAC policy would raise drug prices in huge quantum and added that an audit of the drug pricing regimen in 2021 compared to January 2024 prices will confirm that drug prices have risen by over 500 percent.