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‘Regulate permits on importation of drugs’

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A commissioner in the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), Adeolu Ogunrombi, has urged the Federal Government to regulate permits being given to certified individuals for the importation of drugs, particularly Tramadol, into the country.

Ogunrombi, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday in Abuja, said the seizure of Tramadol is a reflection that we have the drugs being imported into the country more than what are needed for therapeutic purposes, adding that there are some patients who are genuinely in need of the drugs and at doctor’s advice, take the dosage the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC) recommended but at the community level, you find them of higher strengths in the communities.

He said: “Government needs to regulate more the way permits are given to certified individuals for importation of the drugs into the country.

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There is a problem with our quantification process where we don’t really know the estimated quantity of the drugs the country needs for therapeutic purposes.”

“Illicit importation of Tramadol doesn’t just happen at the seaports but also land borders and if you go into the communities, you will find Tramadol of higher strengths than what is within the approved limit of NAFDAC. For instance, NAFDAC only approves 50mg and 100mg but now you can get up to 225mg and 400mg at the community level.”

He, however, added that government and other agencies saddled with the responsibility should address the factors that drive people, particularly the youths, into taking the drugs excessively, saying the seizure by the agencies needs a holistic approach by the stakeholders involved.

“We need a holistic response beyond seizures. We need to address the factors that are driving people to use Tramadol excessively such as socio-economic deprivations,” he noted.


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