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The Failing NAFDAC and DG Adeyeye’s unrenewed hope.

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The Failing NAFDAC and DG Adeyeye’s unrenewed hope.

 

 

By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.

The bar of public service was raised when a woman ready to die for a job requiring just that level of sacrifice was found. The need to confront the challenges of fake pharmaceutical products in Nigeria necessitated NAFDAC.

Two names were on the lips of industry watchers; the most qualified was Mr Godwin Ovbiagele, who once told me, “Bolaji, Dora is better for this job, it is more of a war to fight than a job to do”. Godwin knew Dora, and she didn’t disappoint, she indeed fought the war, won it but left the defence of the territory of cartels she conquered to cash minding colleagues.

With her life, a statement was made

Persons in hope of service to this nation must be ready to die. The rot with us can’t be fixed by those who treasure life and all its pleasures. Dora had no share in our tribal sentiment and common prejudice. She rose up against economic saboteurs majorly of her region and ended the reign of fake drug cartel. May God give us heroes and heroines like Godwin and Dora going forward!

Godwin went from Biode Pharmaceuticals as Managing Director to serve Lucky Igbinedon as Edo State Commissioner for Health and he gave a good account of his stewardship. He didn’t just serve meritoriously, he died on active duty.

May his memory along with Dora’s be blessed among the living forever.

What a contrast between the fighting Amazon, Dora Akunyili and the present Director General of NAFDAC, Moji Adeyeye! If the meaning of nobility was known by Adeyeye she should have resigned for lack of will power to do the job for which Buhari who recommended Dora to Obasanjo hired her to serve this country. Being Buhari’s choice for the NAFDAC job, the minimum expectation was for her to either replicate Dora’s achievements or surpass them. But unfortunately she hasn’t come near them. How could anyone, with nobility), be comfortable admitting 50% failure of the international desk management of imported products and their distribution when the same agency has stifled local drugs manufacturing firms from growth by bureaucracy.

A friend of mine on reading media the report made by the DG of NAFDAC has this to say, “I don’t know another definition of ‘failure’ than the above. This woman has just confessed to overseeing an agency that has negligently watched the importation, stocking, selling and dispensing of fake drugs to Nigerians.
An active President would ask for her immediate resignation or sack her”.

If Adeyeye is thinking of keeping her job under Bola Tinubu, this is the most uncharitable way to do that. You can’t be talking tough while giving embarrassing statistics of your performance. We know the bandwagon of layabouts who wake up at appointment renewal season think their operations is always in the media?

Out in the media we read: “The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has said that 50 per cent of imported pharmaceutical products in Nigeria are fake.

“The Director General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, disclosed this during a recent stakeholders’ engagement in Abuja.”

According to her, the Certificate of Pharmaceutical Product (CPP), issued in the format recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), guarantees the quality of pharmaceutical products and the integrity of the exporting country.

However, she had lamented that despite efforts to ensure product quality, many CPPs arriving in Nigeria are fake!

She stressed NAFDAC’s commitment to stringent regulatory measures, blacklisting non-compliant companies, and taking swift action against those compromising product quality!

Adeyeye affirmed that NAFDAC is actively combating substandard and falsified medicines through prevention, detection, and response strategies. Actively?

At 100% porous ports and borders? You can’t have a-50% percent fake products distribution if your border is not fully porous.

If you are worried about NAFDAC weakness at securing our ports and borders against fake pharmaceutical products wait until we take a look at NAPAMS; a platform where NAFDAC registrations are done, which had become a nightmare for clients as well as staff of the agency. Issues arising here range from finding companies’ documents on the portal, missing applications, slow response, mixing up applications, among others.

Companies are expected to upload all documents online, yet those documents don’t stick on the portal; so, finding them when needed, is an issue. If website management is an issue for a Professor led-NAFDAC in the 21st century, then this administration better find where they can be relevant in analogue driven service in a digital age.

Hope is far from being renewable as hardcopies submitted to the agency as backup to online filing times get missing when they are needed, said a company reps spoke on condition of anonymity. Failure to find the documents online, staff ought to refer to the hardcopies but instead, they’ll send company compliance notice for as much as ten times, when obviously is not the fault of the company, but inefficiency of their system.

At NAFDAC’s Lagos State Office/ FSAN, one of the worst decisions the agency took without proper consideration was moving BREAD AND WATER RENEWAL unit from FSAN to the Lagos State Office. Before now, the Lagos Office only handled the micro and medium scale registration, and the registration process was still slow.

Moving Bread and Water Unit from FSAN where registration process was swift has become recipe for administrative disaster.

The Lagos State Office was under staffed and the few available see themselves as Demigods to be worshipped, turned the whole registration process in there to exhausting and frustrating encounter!

This situation has become a turnoff as most companies are no longer interested in the bread registration and water renewal process since they learnt it has been moved to the Lagis Office. This has resulted in some operational complications.

Getting a date for your inspection now takes up to two months. Under FSAN, it was just two weeks. The B & W Unit is too broad for the Lagos State office to handle.

DER/R and R drugs; the idea of low risk products which already have PROVISIONAL NUMBERS being subjected to two stages of vetting before the director okays and sends it down to the division to schedule for approval meeting can only lead to frustration because there’s no reason for it. Your documents are vetted from the LOD and then the division before the provisional numbers are issued. The new DER director says products officers from other states visited the factory. GMP report has been certified okay by that state director, has to be subjected to two more rounds of vetting by the division and thirdly by him before the products can be scheduled for meeting. This brings us to another issue with NAPAMS-the interest of clients was not considered when the agency decided that everything should be processed online , including the GMP. The GMP can be uploaded from the state more than ten times and won’t stick on the portal.

The agency should please revert to the previous ways of sending GMP reports to the unit via official mails so that products with lab reports can go for meeting. Most companies take loans and before the agency is done with them, they’re running around to pay loans yet the business has not even started!

The NAFDAC registration fee is clearly not aimed at encouraging companies to come forth and register their products with the agency. The registration fee needs to be reviewed and especially foreign GMP which is nearing 16 million for imported goods.

NAFDAC is grossly understaffed with no meaningful recruitment in the last 10 years, except for a few backdoor arrangements for sons and daughters of the privileged, who are daily relocating the similarity of the spoilt brats at CBN.

These lazy, unpatriotic and unprofessional set of Nigerians will rather relocate abroad than accept the transfer to Lagos. The backdoor employment racketeering spree has rendered our Monetary System in this comatose state.

The DG seems interested only in pleasing those at the top, thereby focusing on generating more revenue without taking into consideration the adverse effects her decision might have on companies and Nigerians. The primary purpose of NAFDAC is safety of consumables; food or pharmaceutical products.

Why won’t fake products flood the market when the cost of a certificate of foreign product importation is nearing ₦20 million per product (for food), and pharmaceutical is left to your imagination?

NAFDAC must choose between saving lives and making money.

Why won’t companies run away from the country when the agency pegs foreign Good Manufacturing Practice at ₦16million and yet doesn’t even pay staff well, when poor remuneration is oiling the system at NAFDAC to sustain its corruption structure?

It stinks and is long overdue for oversight visit by relevant Government authorities and lawmakers.

 

  • Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder. He writes from Lagos.

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