By Asmaú Ahmad
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut down the Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, BIORAJ Pharmaceutical Limited both in Ilorin, Kwara State and the Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry, Lagos as it probed the codeine-based syrup epidemic.
Codeine-based syrup is used in treatment of cough, but when abused could lead to harmful and deadly addiction. In a statement by NAFDAC on Monday, Director General of the Agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said that the clampdown was due to the companies’ inability to provide required documents for NAFDAC officials during the inspection of the facilities at Ilorin and Lagos.
“Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies.
“This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation; the three companies therefore remain closed,’’ the statement said. “On May 2 and 3, a team of nine NAFDAC officers were sent to carry out investigational inspection at the companies that are licensed to manufacture codeine-containing syrup, and which were implicated in a BBC documentary.
“The team comprised of two from Drug and Evaluation Research – DER and seven from Investigation & Enforcement – I&E) and ten mobile police officers “The focus of the assignment was to access and monitor from records the utilization, sales and effective distribution of the codeine containing cough syrups to the end users.
“Meanwhile, meeting of the stakeholders mentioned above is being planned while the shut down and full investigations continue. “The reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation,’’ the statement said.
Newsmen report that the Federal Health Ministry announced a ban on the production and import of cough syrup containing codeine last week . This was in the wake of a BBC documentary on how codeine based cough syrups were fuelling an addiction epidemic in northern Nigeria.