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FG bans production, importation of codeine containing syrups

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The Federal has ordered immediate ban on issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparation.Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who gave the directive yesterday in Abuja, said the move became necessary due to the gross abuse Codeine usage has been subjected to in the country.

Adewole noted that Codeine containing cough syrups should be replaced with dextromethorphan, which is less addictive.He also directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to supervise the recall for labeling and audit trailing of all Codeine containing cough syrups in the country, while he has also banned sales of Codeine containing cough syrup without prescription across the country.

The Minister observed that NAFDAC had an emergency meeting with 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.He urged the PCN to continue enforcement activities on pharmacies, patent and proprietary medicine vendor’s shops and outlets throughout the country.

NAFDAC was also directed to fully carry out its functions among others: to 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 Minister stated that the FMOH 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,’’ Adewole stated.Already, NAFDAC has developed IEC materials that will be used in an already planned national campaign against drug abuse, and awareness programme that includes Young Pharmacists Group of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. This will soon be flagged off in Kano and Lagos.

As a way of discouraging youths to shun the drugs, the Federal Government through Federal Ministry of Health shall partner with National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Football celebrities, members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Performing Musicians of Nigeria and other celebrities to drive national campaign against drug abuse.

“The FMOH shall ensure that Drug treatment intervention for victims of substances abuse shall be undertaken across the spectrum of health care delivery system in the country,” Adewole stated.


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Isaac AdewoleNAFDAC
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