The Federal Ministry of Health has banned the importation of codeine as an active pharmaceutical ingredient in Nigeria.
Premium Times reports that the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, gave the directive to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in his office on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the ministry.
The directive ordered NAFDAC to immediately stop further issuance of permits for the importation of codeine.
This implies that codeine related drugs will not be imported or produced in the country any longer.
A feature by the BBC was recently aired showing the traumatic and stimulating effects of codeine on the Nigerian youth and how the substance is being abused across the nation.
According to the statement, the directive became necessary due to the gross abuse of the drug in the country.
The statement reads:
We had an emergency meeting with NAFDAC and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (PMGMAN) to inform them that there is an embargo on all new applications for registration of codeine-containing cough syrups as well as applications for renewal has been abolished.
NAFDAC was directed to fully regulate and control the manufacturing, distribution and sale of drugs, including inspection at points of entry of drugs, drug products and food for compliance with the new directive.
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) was also directed to continue enforcement activities on Pharmacies, Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor’s Shops and outlets throughout the country.
The Federal Ministry of Health shall ensure collaboration among regulatory agencies namely, NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), for effective implementation of extant Acts, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage.
Furthermore, these agencies shall work together to increase pharmacovigilance around codeine, tramadol and other related substances of abuse.
Already, NAFDAC has developed IEC materials that will be used in an already planned national campaign against drug abuse, an awareness programme that includes Young Pharmacists Group of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. This will soon be flagged off in Kano and Lagos.
In the documentary, a staff of Emzor Pharmaceutical illegally sold 60 bottles of codeine syrup to undercover journalists. Emzor later fired the staff and released the following statement: