NAFDAC vows to ensure safety of drugs in Nigeria

Ismail Umar, Abuja

National Agency for Food and Administration and Control, NAFDAC in collaboration with National Malaria Elimination Programme have organised a one day media dialogue to create more awareness on the practice of Pharmacovigilance (safety of medicines) in the country.

The dialogue was to support public health programmes by providing reliable and balanced information to assess the risk-benefit profile of medicines across the country.

Declaring the dialogue open the Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni who was represented by Director Administration and Planning of the Agency, Professor Samson Adebayor, said Nigeria, with the population of over one hundred and forty million people is expected to generate about twenty eight thousand Individual Case Safety Reports, ICSRs annually, but only few numbers were reported and this indicates that there are many adverse drug reactions that were not reported by health care providers and patients.

Mrs Oni assured Nigerians that the Agency is collaborating with various relevant stakeholders across the country to ensure safety of medicines in the country.

“NAFDAC, assures of the safety of all regulated products including medicines by undertaking comprehensive evaluation of their quality, safety, and efficacy before they are registered for in the country” Mrs Oni said.

The Acting Director General said the Agency has got tremendous support for its Pharmacovigilance programme from many of the public health programmes particularly the National Malaria Control Programme, society for Family Health and Yakubu Gowon Centre through funding from the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria among other donor agencies/development partners.

Through support from these partners, we have been able to develop a Pharmacovigilance policy, the first in Africa and train over five thousand healthcare providers across the country on how to report ADRs;as well as undertake massive public awareness campaigns in mass media” She added.

The Acting Director General explained that the ultimate goal of Pharmacovigilance is to reduce medicine induced morbidity and mortality. “This can only be achieved when everyone is vigilant about the possible harmful effects of medicines and take active steps to detect, report and prevent them”.