NATIONAL Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDC) Monday night shuts giant Emzor Pharmaceuticals and two others indicted in the raging codeine saga.
The other two Pharmaceutical companies indicted alongside Emzor Pharmaceuticals in the codeine abuse story are Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited both located in Ilorin, Kwara State.
In a statement signed by NAFDAC Director General, Professor Moji Adeyeye, announced the indefinite closure and subsequent suspension of all production lines of the three drug manufacturers.
The DG said the action was necessitated by “insufficient evidence gathered, and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our (official) inspection of the three companies on May 2, 2018.
According to Adeyeye, it became necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation.
She added that the reopening of the companies will only depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation that will soon follow.
The NAFAC DG noted that task force officials deployed to the three companies following the story are still continuing with their investigations in spite of the resistance met at the companies.
Adeyeye described the events leading to the closure of the companies saying, the agency having seen a preview of the documentary aired by BBC had immediately placed embargo on issuance of permit to end users of the raw material effective May 1, 2018 and deployed officials to the companies for inspection.
She said an emergency meeting between NAFDAC and executive of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) identified four major reasons for the current codeine epidemic.
“These include: weakness in the monitoring of production and distribution in the supply of medicines containing narcotic substances such as codeine.
“ Inadequate NAFDAC presence at various entry ports that has led to significant levels of smuggling together with importation of considerable amounts of products with potential for abuse and attendant non-regulation of such products
“Lack of multidisciplinary stakeholder approach to develop strategies and actions to bring these issues under control.
“Inadequate monitoring of open drug markets by PCN, NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health, observed Professor Adeyeye.
She however said a meeting of all stakeholders involved in the production and regulation of codeine containing products is being scheduled to hold to discuss the unfolding codeine episode.
The stakeholders include Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG- MAN), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN).