from Fred Ezeh
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said its fight against falsified medicines, unwholesome food products and cosmetics are yielding the desired result.
The Agency was particularly happy with the successes achieved in the fight against merchants of tramadol and other hazardous substances and substandard drugs.
NAFDAC Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who addressed journalists on the occasion of her fourth year in office, mentioned that, following her relentless efforts, the Agency officials were allowed back in the nation’s Ports in 2018 through the help of the National Security Adviser.
She said: “Coupled with rigorous inspection and enforcement activities, NAFDAC, in collaboration with Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) seized and destroyed unwholesome foods and other unregulated products worth over N4 billion.
“In other similar exercises across the nation, we were able to give serious chase to tramadol merchants. Tramadol with estimated street value of about N2 trillion was destroyed and the impact is there for all to see.
“As a result, most of the Tramadol merchants have gone underground. They have been almost decimated leaving only just few of them there. We would continue to pursue them until they turn a new leave and abandon the dangerous trade.
“Instructively, the street value of falsified medicines and unwholesome food products and cosmetics seized and destroyed across the country by the Agency between March and August of 2021 alone stood at over N5billion.”
The NAFDAC boss confessed that in addition to inheriting N3.2 billion debt in 2017 when she resumed as NAFDAC boss, she met an Agency whose regulatory activities were at the lowest ebb, staff morale was low, glaring cases of indiscipline and labour union strikes as well as general lack of administrative focus and direction.
“I knew the regulatory framework was weak and therefore needed systemic overhauling. I quickly realized that it will take putting in place seven internationally defined building blocks that are based on World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in order to strengthen the Agency.
“For strong regulatory framework, a quality system approach or template must be in place that places premium on the customer. Therefore, we decided to adopt an agency-wide quality management system (ISO 9001) that took the entire staff through training from February 2018-June 2019 in use of self-auditing, standard operating procedures, proper documentation, transparency, digitalization of her processes, etc.
“ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System Certification: Under my leadership, Quality Management System (QMS) has been entrenched in the Agency with all our processes procedure driven.
“The Agency was ISO 9001:2015 Certified in June 2019. NAFDAC has been received recertification in 2020 and 2021. This continued recertification is based on continual improvement (self-audit) in regulatory culture to always put the customer first.”
She recommit to strengthening the system to ensure effective service to Nigerians, thus soliciting the support of all stakeholders including the lawmakers to ensure more results are achieve in the Agency.