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Nigeria facing severe drug insecurity ?— NAFDAC

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has raised the alarm that Nigeria is facing an intense state of drug insecurity, warning that the situation may worsen if urgent attention was not paid to local manufacturing of drugs in the country. NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, stated this on Monday while announcing the agency’s readiness to host the third African Medicine Quality Forum (AMQF) meeting in Abuja. According to her, efforts to abate the current uncertainties trailing Nigeria’s drug situation may fail, if China is unable to contain the spread of the new Coronavirus originating in its territory. Adeyeye feared that China’s inability to find a lasting cure to the novel virus may necessitate greater global restrictions on its exports, especially medicines. The NAFDAC DG said the effect would be devastating to Nigeria, since 70 percent of drugs consumed in the country were imported from the Asia’s biggest drug maker. She, therefore, lamented Nigeria’s inability to locally service its drug needs owing to the shortage of homegrown drug manufacturing companies. “The situation is made worse with the current Coronavirus threat. Even India is already feeling the insecurity because they also buy most of their active ingredients from China. “If India is feeling it, then we should be praying (for divine intervention), because we don’t even manufacture anything but import everything including the active, the non-active ingredients, and the equipments used in drug making. “It is a scary situation. Severe drug insecurity is staring us in the face. If something untoward happens to the countries we import our drugs from, then we are in serious trouble especially when 70 per cent of our drugs are not made in Nigeria. “That’s why we are harping on local manufacturing of drug products in the country. If we fail to do that, then we will sink deeper in trouble. Achieving Universal Health Coverage will o be impossible unless we have drug security.” The NAFDAC DG, however, reiterated the determination of the agency to collaborate with stakeholders in delivering solutions to the problem. While Nigeria’s drug manufacturing sector remains a far cry from those of other emerging nations like China, India, Egypt and South Africa, Adeyeye said NAFDAC will keep strengthening its capacity to ensure quality control of drug products already imported for distribution in the country. To this end, she said the AMQF meeting will not only strengthen regional cross-border survey of medicine in Africa as a means of protecting public health but also reinforce the importance of quality control laboratories in post-marketing surveillance.