There seems to be an end in sight to the hitherto unstructured drug and medical products distribution system in Nigeria, as the National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is set to introduce a new technology to track fake and substandard drugs, as well as strengthen the drug supply chain in the country.
The introduction of the new system of tracing and tracking technology is crucial to the reduction in the circulation of fake and substandard medicines in the country, which is presently put at 17 per cent, said the NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye.
Adeyeye made this disclosure at the 2nd African GS1 Healthcare Conference, an international conference with over 300 participants from about 44 countries, held at Eko Hotel and Suites from 17 to 19 September, 2019.
Speaking further on the agency’s new initiative, she said the demand for a more effective and robust means of securing the medicines supply chain, which will be able to identify, capture, and share information about medical products and their movement in the supply chain, from manufacturer to dispenser/patient, led NAFDAC into a partnership with GS1 Nigeria for the achievement of this objective.
According to her, the new technology the agency is bringing on board is called GS1 barcoding system for verification and tracing of pharmaceutical products, while it is has been observed that about ten companies are already using GS1 bar coding system for verification only.
While explaining the five strategic objectives the agency strives to achieve through the GS1 barcode introduction, which includes establishing of governance structure for advocacy; strengthening regulatory systems; creating efficiencies; build and sustain technology; and enabling use of standards, Adeyeye stated that it is a five-year target for the agency.
The NAFDAC boss asserted that the implementation of pharmaceutical traceability policies, processes, and systems will create an environment that provides visibility of product status from plant to patient.
“Positive outcomes requires strong regulatory governance, collaborative execution, and accountability through effective monitoring and evaluation. This is why NAFDAC will collaborate across government agencies and the private sector to meet the following strategic objectives”, she stated.
And the end of several plenaries at the 3-day international healthcare conference, the following decisions where unanimously taken by delegates and signed by Adeyeye and Mrs Margareth Ndomondo-Sigonda, head, Health Systems, AUDA NEPAD.
“To Increase patient safety through mitigating the risk of entry of SF medicines into the legitimate supply chain; Provide data-driven visibility of health commodities in national supply chains and stronger interoperability with global supply chains; Improve reliable access to essential health commodities through supply chain efficiencies and stock availability;Promote trust in the public and private pharmaceutical sectors and healthcare systems through supply chain security.
“As national and RECs, we will work with one another, development partners, and the private sector to: Create sustainable governance structures that are country-driven, broadly collaborative, and coordinated across our government agencies; Strengthen regulatory policies and procedures – including standardized health commodity labeling guidelines – that reinforce pharmaceutical traceability goals.
“Implement automatic identification and data capture technologies and supporting process improvements to advance supply chain efficiencies; Invest in the underlying health systems infrastructure that enables verification and track and trace of pharmaceuticals through the supply chain.
“We commit to pursuing this agenda through existing regional institutions, such as the AMRH and future African Medicines Agency, to establish robust, clear and coherent health commodity procurement guidelines that mutually reinforce broader traceability. As we embark on this long-term process, we will uphold the value of existing global supply chain standards as an essential tool in the pursuit of global interoperability”, they declared.