The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye certainly will not take chances at any given opportunity to drive home her desire to exploit every avenue to foster local production of pharmaceutical health products through partnerships in research and development. Recently at the University of Ilorin, she called for deeper and collaborative efforts among researchers, pharmacists and regulatory agencies on herbal medicine.
While noting that China generates about 75 per cent of her treatment through herbal medicine, Adeyeye added, “We were raised on herbs; they work. It is a low hanging fruit. So it needs a lot of collaborations among academic pharmacists, scientists, industrial pharmacists and NAFDAC.
Obviously the DG leaves no one in doubt as regards the course she has chosen to steer the regulatory agency – in her utmost resolve to lead the agency towards eliminating substandard foods and drugs in the country. Within a short space of time since she took over as the helmsman of the agency, an incredible haul of seizures had been made in collaboration with sister agencies of government such as NDLEA, the Nigerian Customs, and SON, etc.
Prof. Adeyeye’s determination to ensure that NAFDAC lives up to its responsibility of eliminating falsified and unsafe drugs, medical devices, foods and water in Nigeria was succinctly captured in her maiden speech in December 2017: “The concerns of our people are mainly about safety of our drugs, food, medical devices and water. Most people, including those who manufacture fake drugs and sell bad foods or water, do not plan to kill people, but may not fully understand that chemicals (be they in drugs or food, or through bio-contamination) can kill hundreds of people easily”.
In a recent development, the DG urged the federal government not to place drugs and poisons on the Concurrent List; she asserted that this will not only cause multiplicity of drug legislation, but also lead to chaos in drug distribution. Foreseeing the grave danger such an action would portend, Adeyeye had insisted that such drug legislation if implemented will discourage foreign investment and cause disruption of existing cooperation with international support partners and donor agencies, while exacerbating the menace of drug abuse.
She added, “This will lead to proliferation of organised crime and money laundering offences, loss of recognition of the country as a preferred destination for clinical research due to haphazard legislative requirements; lowered product quality standards will further worsen Nigeria’s health indices.”
In achieving her goals the DG has clearly defined her priority such as ensuring improved services of the laboratories in Oshodi and Yaba in Lagos. This, of course is aimed at meeting international standards so as to also qualify for the World Health Organisation (WHO) accreditation, training of staffers of NAFDAC, as well as getting improved customer service relationship between the agency and the general public, etc.
From recent events, it is glaring that the new administration places high premium on partnerships, and as such among others, NAFDAC has continued to maintain a close relationship with the world body especially in the area of capacity building, drug monitoring, putting in place quality control measures as well as making sure that post marketing standard procedures are adhered to. And in all of these processes and procedures, Adeyeye has promised the agency will consolidate on its gains and existing partnerships while exploring other areas of collaboration with the world body.