Friday, February 24, 2017 7:12 pm
Prof. Karniyus Gamaliel, Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja, says Nigeria has the capacity to produce its own drugs and end reliance on donor countries.
Gamaliel told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that this would also impact positively in the fight to end drug smuggling and fake drug peddling in the country by relevant agencies.
He noted that although the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has made progress over the years in addressing the problem, there was need for the Federal Government to take more stringent steps.
He said that as long as the country stalled from attaining this goal, it would continue to face the problem of controlling how drugs both fake and good were brought into the country.
“If a country does not produce, it is very difficult to control but if you produce you can have better control.
“Nigeria is not free from the sale of substandard drugs and the major reason is that our boarders are porous. There is also the need for relevant agencies to strengthen control internally.
“Drugs are more traceable than money. When drugs come into the country, they must get approval and someone must apply for that approval so if one tracks substandard products one will always know where they came from.
“There is a possibility that people are still producing fake drugs right here in the country; but this is not up to 20 or 30 per cent of what is smuggled into the country from other countries,” Gamaliel said.
He said that the institute has been working with NAFDAC for several years under a memorandum of understanding to address fake drug smuggling and peddling in the country.
He said that the partnership has also allowed the institute to test products locally produced by entrepreneurs and sent to the institute by NAFDAC to check for efficacy and safety.
He added that this has enabled the institute register various locally produced items including food supplements and issue certificates after checking for quality and standard.
“We work hand in hand with NAFDAC in this process we do not just approve, we provide certificates that the entrepreneurs use to register with NAFDAC,’’ Gamaliel said.
He commended the steps taken by the Federal Ministry of Health regarding the distribution policy of drugs in the country.
He said that products getting to the distribution centres were sent directly to hospitals and registered pharmacies so as to monitor and track the movement of drugs to check fake production.