Codeine Addiction: Nigeria shuts down three pharmaceutical companies

NAFDAC office
NAFDAC office

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control (NAFDAC) has shut down three major pharmaceutical companies for their alleged involvement in the codeine syrup abuse currently ravaging youth in Nigeria.

The companies shut are Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Director-General of the Agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, said the decision was taken following findings from investigations and inspections at the affected companies.

Part of the statement read, “Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018, at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all the product lines of the three companies – Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited, 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos. This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation. The three companies, therefore, remain closed.”

The statement also said the reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.

“The DG constituted a task force to be made up of NAFDAC directors in charge of registration and regulatory affairs; narcotics and controlled substances; and drug evaluation and research,” the agency said,

A team of nine NAFDAC and ten mobile police officers had been sent to Ilorin, Kwara State on May 2, 2018, to carry out an investigational inspection at the premises of two of three shut pharmaceutical companies that are licensed to manufacture codeine-containing syrup, and which were implicated in the BBC documentary.

A recent BBC documentary exposed the addiction of some Nigerians to codeine and the complicity of staff of some pharmaceutical companies.

The widespread addiction led the Ministry of Health to ban the production and importation of cough syrup with codeine in the country.

The ban has been commended by many Nigerians including the Senate.

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