The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof Christianah Adeyeye has said that there is need for a functional system where medicines can be tracked and traced. According to her, in developed countries, medicines can be traced from the manufacturer to the patients. “Every medicine should have a barcode so that if there is a problem, we can track to the original manufacturer. We are not there at all.
This according to her is the reason for the five-year plan unveiled during the 2nd African GS1 Healthcare Conference that would ensure a well-coordinated system of tracking and tracing of pharmaceutical products as part of its efforts to provide end-to-end safety in the drug value chain.
In her presentation entitled: “Pharmaceutical Track & Trace in Nigeria: A Timely Imperative,” Adeyeye, explained that the adoption of track and trace system was timely as Nigeria is faced with unstructured drug and medical products distribution system which poses a serious threat to the National Drug Policy.
Adeyeye stated that the agency has shouldered the responsibilities of overseeing the manufacturing and distribution of quality medicines through the adoption of bar-coding.
“We don’t have a good distribution system, and again, there are counterfeit and falsified medicines in our distribution system and up till now, we don’t have a track and trace system.”
She however, noted that the track and trace system would be smoothened within the five years strategic plan for better and effective operations.
“It takes a lot of work to put track and tracing in place. For example, it is going to start with the manufacturers down to the patients. Although, few of the manufacturers have bar-coding but it’s only for verification and not for tracing.
“It is estimated that 10 companies already are using GS1 bar-coding system for verification only, traceability is a capital intensive project, funding is a major determinant but by our expectation is by the end of the fifth year, Nigeria would have achieved at least 70 per cent implementation of all NAFDAC-regulated medical products.”
According to Adeyeye, the global standards for traceability can provide Nigerian national product identification and classification structure and the use will provide a common language that can be used efficiently among stakeholders in the supply chain to exchange ideas or carry such forth in the tracking and tracing a health commodity.
“Tack and trace will be a basis for global trade in terms of identification, verification and data exchange of commodities.”
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, GS1, Babatunde Odunlami who noted that NAFDAC was committed to combating the challenges within the supply chain, said the collaboration with GS1 and other stakeholders would proffer long-lasting solutions. “With the newly adopted Track and Trace system, incidences of counterfeit drugs would be reduced.”
On his part, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Lawal, commended NAFDAC and GS1 for the giant step taken to end the scourge of counterfeit drugs adding that the focus of the conference- tracking and tracing was important because without quality medicines no one can cure diseases.
Also, speaking, the Chairman, World Bank, Global Steering committee for Quality Assurance, Mr. Tom Woods applauded NAFDAC and GS1, stating that, their organisation bring global solutions to local challenges. “World Bank is present in 170 countries, ten thousand employees, coordination between ministries of health and finance in terms of grants, loans, and blended financing. We engage in policy advice, research and analysis, and technical assistance. We aim universal health coverage by 2030.”