Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Saturday said that it is currently processing 21 herbal medicinal products for ‘safe to use’ or listing status.
The agency says that many applicants claim that their products are immune boosters and anti-infectives useful for relief of symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19, but no clinical study has been done yet on any of the products to prove their claim of efficacy.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement released in Abuja on Saturday cautioned Nigerians against patronizing herbal products being promoted against COVID-19.
She explained: ‘Listing status involves the review of the composition of the formulation, the labelling of the product, the process of manufacture and ‘safe to use’ testing. Once the product is able to meet all requirements, a listing status is granted with a clear disclaimer that states clearly that claims have not been evaluated by NAFDAC.
‘The applicant can arrange for clinical trials that will involve the use of human subjects in order to prove efficacy or claim for treatment following laid down procedures and with the approval of NAFDAC.
‘However, listing of a herbal product is not a requirement for the conduct of clinical trials. Most of the applicants that submitted herbal medicines that are currently undergoing processing have been issued compliance directives to provide additional information or/and evidence of good manufacturing practice or environment fit for the production of the medicines.’
Reacting to Paxherbal’s claim of being approved by NAFDAC as a solution to COVID-19, the NAFDAC boss explained that ‘Paxherbal applied for Listing of Pax Herbal Cugzin capsule 290mg which was approved by NAFDAC and Listed as “safe to use”. “The applicant claimed that it is an immune booster and an anti-infective.
‘However, as part of the labelling of the product, and in line with global practice, a disclaimer is on the product label which clearly states that the claims have not been evaluated by NAFDAC,’ she said.
She added that statements circulating on social media that NAFDAC has approved Paxherbal product specifically for treating symptoms associated with coronavirus are wrong and inaccurate.
‘Until a clinical study is done in a scientific manner, no herbal medicine manufacturer can claim effectiveness to treat COVID-19 associated symptoms,’ she insisted.