Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says the agency has intercepted more than six billion tablets of Tramadol worth about N193 billion in the last one year.
Adeyeye disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday, where she presented her scorecard for the last one year since her assumption of office as director general of the agency.
She said that in the period under review, the agency also intercepted 321,146 cartons of unregistered pharmaceutical products worth hundreds of millions of naira.
“Since my assumption of duty, the new director of Ports Inspection Directorate and his team have intercepted 86 containers containing tramadol and other unregulated drug products.
“These include 23 40ft containers that were recently examined and found to have been loaded with tramadol of various strengths from 120mg to 250 mg tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceutical products that are known to be injurious to the health of the public most importantly to the youth of our nation.
“The tramadol is estimated to be 6,446,100,000 tablets. The worth of the tramadol alone on the street is estimated to be about N193,383,000,000 on an average cost of N1,500,000 per carton.
“In addition, 321,146 cartons of other unregistered pharmaceutical products that could be worth hundreds of millions of naira.
“Prevention of these dangerous drugs from entering into the Nigerian market will reduce millions of youths from hazards of drug addiction that can pose threats and are posing threats to families, Nigerian workforce and the security of the nation at large.’’
According to the director general, the agency has secured the conviction of one of the distributors of tramadol, while three others have been arraigned at the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Adeyeye, who said that the court had ordered the destruction of the seized products, explained that the agency was concluding plans to destroy more than 30 containers of tramadol and other unregistered products.
She said that the removal of the agency from the ports between 2011 and 2018, worsened the problem of the prevalence of substandard and falsified medicines, illicit drugs and unwholesome food in the country.
The director general said, however, that with the support of the presidency, the agency was returned to the ports in May 2018 and also included on the inspection of MDAs in the Kaduna dry port in August 2018.
She said that the agency has since then seized and destroyed substandard and falsified medicines, unwholesome foods and unregulated products worth over N3 billion.
She added that the agency was working to improve local manufacturing of medicines from 30 per cent to 70 per cent in order to eliminate the influx and sale of substandard and falsified medicines in the country.
“It has been documented that most of the substandard and falsified medicines are imported due to the fact that access and fastness to inspect local companies are quite spontaneous.
“Promotion of local manufacturing has been on my priority list. Local manufacturing ensures drug security, reduces unemployment and increases contribution of the pharmaceutical industry to the nations GDP.
“The agency is therefore working to increase local manufacturing of drugs from 30 per cent to 70 per cent. We will achieve this by engaging trade groups, pharmaceutical importers, international companies and others.
“In line with the ease of doing business, we have scaled down many of our requirements in order to accommodate micro and small manufacturers of herbal medicines and cosmetics.
“Kitchen scale production for cosmetics was introduced for these manufacturers this means that individuals can make certain products in their kitchen as long as the kitchens are not shared.
Adeyeye maintained that the agency was also making efforts to improve the condition of laboratories in the country by upgrading available equipment.
She said that the agency has developed and deployed Ports Inspection Data Capture and Risk Management System (PIDCARMS) which has helped to block leakages of the revenue of the agency.
According to her, NAFDAC has also helped in the discovery and blockage of avenues for falsifying the agency’s security documents adding that over half a billion naira of evaded payments have been recovered in the process.
The director general said that from Dec. 15, 2018 the agency would commence online registration for drug or food approvals.
Adeyeye assumed office as director general of NAFDAC on November 3, 2017.