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NAFDAC urges firms to obtain approval before advertising regulated products




THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has called on firms operating in Nigeria to obtain its approval before advertising regulated products in the media.

Director, Registration and Regulatory Affairs, NAFDAC, Dr Monica Eimunjeze, who made the call recently during NAFDAC Product Regulation Outreach (NaPRO) organised by NAFDAC in collaboration with Covenant Capital for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SME) operators, stated that the call for advert approval is aimed at safeguarding the health of Nigerians who may become pawns in the hands of counterfeit products advertisers.

Although the agency had recently started arresting some herbal medicines advertisers who failed to get advert approval before embarking on such action, the menace is yet to die down. But Eimunjeze stated that the advert approval would go a long way in helping to sanitise drug regulation in Nigeria.

The NaPRO event, which was attended by NAFDAC staff, SMEs operators and army officials, was geared towards strengthening SMEs towards product registration.

Eimunjeze added that the seminar was aimed at exposing SMEs operators to the processes and procedures of registering products, explaining that the agency has noticed that some SMEs operators find it difficult to come to the agency to make inquiries because of fear.

Eimunjeze, who urged SMEs operators to always see the agency as one with intention to help small business owners, added that the agency was determined to position SMEs for the economy. She explained that SMEs operators were critical towards the diversification of the nation’s challenged economy.

She added that such realisation had made the agency to create Small Business Support Desk (SBSD) to liaise “ with small businesses to foster greater understanding of regulatory, registration procedures and also serve as enquiry point for clients on regulatory issues.”

Eimunjeze added that counterfeiters have even gone ahead to fake NAFDAC registration numbers, a scenario, which she said, has made it difficult to recognise genuine products from fake ones on physical basis, except through the use of sophisticated technology being used by the agency.

She said counterfeiters were focusing on anti-malarial, antibiotics, anti-hypertensive, anti-diabetic agents and lifestyle drugs with huge implications for public health.

On his part, Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre, Poju Oyemade said the fight against counterfeit medicines was becoming hectic one in Nigeria. “The war against counterfeit products may be universal but in Nigeria, it is personal. It is a personal war for the health of a nation sustained by over 17 million small and medium scale businesses in various sectors of the economy.

“Between 2012 and 2014, NAFDAC is reported to have destroyed over N2 billion worth of counterfeit products: foods, drugs, and so on. This data can be interpreted in two ways: We can celebrate it, and rightly so, as the continuous success of the agency in clamping down on counterfeit and harmful products across the country.
“But we can also flip the coin, by considering the socio-economic value and multiplier effect on businesses, if those were N2 billion worth of NAFDAC certified products.”

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