Due to the BBC documentary on codeine addiction in Nigeria that has gone viral, NAFDAC has shut down the companies which were exposed during the investigative journalism carried out by the BBC reporters.
Peace Standard Pharmaceutical ltd., BIORAJ Pharmaceutical ltd. both in Ilorin, Kwara, and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Lagos have all been shut down for further investigation.
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. The companies are the Peace Standard Pharmaceutical ltd. at Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited. No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State.
Also shut down was the Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos. This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation; the three companies therefore remain closed,’’
“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.
Recall that the documentary had exposed workers in each of the companies to be involved in selling the banned substance in cartoons without receipts thereby making it impossible to pin an offense on the company.