Codeine: NAFDAC Seals Emzor, 2 Other Pharmaceutical Companies

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has sealed the production lines of Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry in Lagos and two Ilorin-based companies,  the Peace Standard Pharmaceutical ltd., and BIORAJ Pharmaceutical  ltd., as it continues to probe the codeine-based syrup epidemic.

The Federal Health Ministry had announced a ban on the production and import of cough syrup containing codeine last week following reports that codeine based cough syrups were fuelling an addiction epidemic in northern Nigeria.
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 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,’’ 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.