Following the proliferation of substandard medicines and food products in the market places, which put the safety and health of consumers in jeopardy, the National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has decided to arrest the situation, by equipping consumers and the general public with information on authentic products for their well-being.
This knowledge on drugs and food products authenticity is contained in the Compendium of registered NAFDAC regulated products, which will be out in circulation in about two to three weeks from now, said the NAFDAC Director General, Professor Moji Adeyeye.
Addressing stakeholders in the manufacturing of drugs and food products in the country, during a two-day meeting held on 30 to 31 August, themed: “A Date with the Director-General, NAFDAC”, Prof. Adeyeye explained the importance of the Compendium, describing it as a veritable source of information and an anti-counterfeiting device.
Her words: “It’s a compilation of all the products registered by NAFDAC; and it is a veritable source of information, and an anti counterfeiting device that will put the power of information in the hands of consumers, and the general public. And it answers the question of products registration status at a go”.
While noting that the Compendium is a reference material that people can actually fall back on, anytime any day both in hard and soft copies, she narrated the genesis of the document, tracing it to the era of the former NAFDAC DG, Prof. Dora Akunyile, who collated the maiden edition of the Compendium to deal with the issue of fake and substandard products.
Ten years down the line with over 50,000 registered products, in form of foods, water, cosmetics and feeds, Prof. Adeyeye said on assumption of office nine months ago, she taught it necessary to revise the Compendium and dissect it into product lines for easy access by consumers.
“You can either have the CD or the book. This will serve as a guide to consumers and organisations on the verification of certified products in the country. It was the very rudimentary anti-counterfeiting device that was first put in place.
“Thus, we don’t want to lose track on this device due to the proliferation of cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting technologies like Mobile Authentication System (MAS), scratch and send, then forget where we are coming from. That was why we decided to update it , make it ready for publication and circulate it round the whole country, to the various pharmaceutical premises, supermarkets, academia, medical centres, teaching hospitals, so that when the doctors are prescribing, it will serve as a validated guide to them”, she stated.
The NAFDAC boss further listed other achievements of the agency made under her watch to include: the full deployment and use of Information and Communications Technology in its operations, revamping of the NAFDAC website to increase transparency, the decentralisation of NAFDAC registration centres, which commenced in April after the creation of six zonal directorates and the Federal Capital Territory directorate.
Explaining the motive for the meeting, she said ‘Meet the DG NAFDAC’ meeting was aimed at providing a platform for discourse and exchange of information, “which relates to stakeholders’ expectations from the regulated sector and feedback to the regulator from the stakeholders.”
Responding to the DG’s remarks, some of the manufacturers disclosed their ordeal in getting their products registered with the agency, while they called for better measures to be put in place for easy access to the agency as well as reduction in the long duration of products registration.
President of Premium Bread makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) Mr Tosan Jemide, during the interactive session at the forum, called the attention of the DG to the regulation of bread production in the country, which he said has degenerated beyond control as there are different shapes and colours of bread in circulation.
In the same vein, the National President of the Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP) Mrs Clementina Ativie craved the indulgence of the agency to enter into a partnership with them, in order to rid the society of unwholesome water of different types. Prof. Adeyeye however gave her consent to the request, noting that NAFDAC ready to work with them for the safety of the citizens.