How to protect against substandard, falsified medicines, by stakeholders
Foreign and local stakeholders in the health sector have agreed to ensure the implementation of pharmaceutical traceability policies, processes and systems that will curb substandard and falsified medicines.
They noted that the adoption of existing global supply chain standards for pharmaceutical traceability will help to achieve improvement in access to quality medicines through stronger regional regulatory harmonisation, global and national interoperability and information systems.
Speaking at the conference organised by National Agency for Food and Drug (NAFDAC) African GS1 Healthcare Conference held recently in Lagos, the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, noted the agency has shouldered the responsibilities of overseeing the manufacturing and distribution of quality medicines through the adoption of barcoding.
She said: “We don’t have a good distribution system, secondly there are counterfeit and falsified medicines in our distribution system and up till now we don’t have a system to track and trace our medicines.”
Adeyeye said the intent of NAFDAC is to explore and move towards increasing patients’ safety through mitigating the risk of entry of counterfeit and falsified medicines into the legitimate supply chain, as well as improve reliable access to essential health commodities through supply chain efficiencies and stock availability.
The pharmacist said the aim is also to provide data-driven visibility of health commodities in national supply chains and stronger interoperability with global supply chains, as well as promote trust in the public and private pharmaceutical sectors and healthcare systems.
“In developed countries, medicines can be traced from the manufacturer to the patients. Every medicine should have a barcodes so that if there is a problem we can track to the original manufacturer. We are not there at all in Nigeria, which is why we have a five-year plan to get there as much as possible.”
The Chief Executive Officer, GS1, Babatunde Odunlami, said the orgnaisation is bent on ensuring challenges within the supply chain, thus collaborating with stakeholders to proffer long lasting solutions like the introduction of the Track and Trace system to reduce incidences of counterfeit drugs.
“GS1 is a global organisation, what we focus on is the development of standards for the supply chain. Our tag line is that we are the global language for business. We look at the challenges within the supply chain and we work together through collaboration to proffer solutions. Barcodes are very important in businesses as it enables for tracking systems. Collaborating with NAFDAC, at the end of the day, is to provide the basis where people and businesses can communicate together. Our focus is patients safety,” he said.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, commended the NAFDAC and GS1 for the giant step taken to end the scourge of counterfeit drugs.
“The focus of this conference, tracking and tracing manufactured drugs is very important because without quality medicines we can’t cure diseases. It is very important for NAFDAC to continue this collaboration,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, has partnered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on better healthcare delivery and national economy.
El-Rufai while receiving a delegation from the PSN led by a past President of the Society, Yaro Budah and the Deputy President, North, Munir Elelu, accepted a request by the PSN to be personally be present at the opening ceremony of the 92nd edition of the national conference (tagged Crocodile City 2019) on Tuesday, November 5, as the Chief Host.
El-Rufai said he welcomes this kind of conference that will feature thousands ofpharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, doctors, nurses and other care-providers from all the states of Nigeria and Abuja.
The Governor also acknowledged he was informed that pharmacists from the diaspora especially United States of America and the United Kingdom (UK) will be in attendance.
Budah, who represented the PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said as healthcare professionals, pharmacists play an important role in improving access to healthcare and in closing the gap between the potential benefits of medicines and the actual value realised.
He said the national conference is the biggest, if not the most important event in PSN’s yearly calendar. Budah said in spite of the reported security challenges, PSN went ahead to grant Kaduna State the hosting rights for the 2019 Annual National Conference because of the progressive style of the Governor, and also as a way of demonstrating to the world that Kaduna is safe and open for business despite the reported security and communal challenges, which are limited mostly to the outskirts of Kaduna.
He said the 92nd Annual National Conference is expected to be a bee-hive of professionally inclined activities which will bring together over 250 manufacturers, importers and other potential investors especially in the pharmaceutical sector from all over the world.