Ohuabunwa Urges NAFDAC to Steer Clear of Extortion

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The President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. (Mazi) Sam I. Ohuabunwa, has advised the management of the National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to continue to resist the temptation of turning the organisation into a fund raising institution.

Ohuabunwa, who was the guest speaker, at the Silver Jubilee celebration of NAFDAC, which held on 28 March 2019,at the Lagos City Hall, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, delivered a paper titled: “Effective Regulation as a Tool for National Development: The NAFDAC Example”.

Citing decree no 15 of 1993 as amended by decree no 19 of 1999 and now Act Cap N1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN), 2004; he said NAFDAC is mandated to carry out a broad range of functions, principally to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sales and use of drugs, cosmetics, medical devises, bottled water, chemicals and detergents (Regulated Products).

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While lauding the good performance of the agency so far, especially during the administration of late Prof. Dora Akunyili, who actually popularized NAFDAC, by making it a household name, Ohuabunwa said the management and staff members of the agency, must always be cautious of falling into the temptation of unscrupulous manufacturers, who want their substandard products approved by all means.

Still on assessment of NAFDAC’s regulatory roles vis-à-vis national development, the PSN President said  NAFDAC is expected to monitor the foods, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and bottled water industries to ensure that their products (locally produced or imported) are registered, also that their products are of good quality on a consistent basis.

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Ohuabunwa Urges NAFDAC to Steer Clear of Extortion
Ohanbunwa addresing-Nafdac at the celebration of Silver Jubilee

As a participant in the industry and in the economy for several years and as past chairman of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Ohuabunwa said he firmly believe that the industry has benefitted from the regulatory activities of NAFDAC in many respects.

He also admonished the management of NAFDAC to continue to improve its customer focus, treat all customers as partners and try to give them a good experience at each encounter.

“NAFDAC must further improve its responsiveness to customers’ mails, requests and complaints. As an agency that preaches standards, it must itself have standards when dealing with its stakeholders. There must be enforceable timelines and waiting period for registration of products or receiving other approvals. It must continue to simplify regulations”, he quipped.

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Speaking on products’ registration fees, he called the attention of the agency’s management to the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, making Nigerian products globally uncompetitive. He therefore charged NAFDAC to be conscious of this while fixing her fees. The concession in fees given to small businesses is a good gesture.

In conclusion, Ohuabunwa said the reputation of NAFDAC as corruption free zone during the days of Dora Akunyili must be rebuilt. “It is important that NAFDAC thinks globally but acts locally. It is visionary to target American standards but the US FDA is over hundred years old while NAFDAC is just 25. We all need to go through a learning curve and so NAFDAC must always bear that in mind while introducing new regulations and standards”.

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