…NAFDAC keeps mum over development
Following the recent recall of Xalatan eye drop from distribution in Nigeria by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the company said it made the decision because of the existence of its counterfeit in the open market.
But the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has kept mum over the recall, as several calls and messages sent to the Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye, and the Director of Communication, NAFDAC, Dr. Jimoh Abubakar were not responded to. A mail also sent to the agency was not responded to.
NAFDAC’s primary responsibility is to prevent the manufacture and sale of fake, counterfeit and unwholesome drugs and foods across Nigeria.
In an exclusive chat with THISDAY yesterday, the Communications and Media Manager, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Charmaine Motloung said the firm voluntarily made the recall of Xalatan (latanoprost) 0.005 per cent eye drop at the pharmacy and consumer level as a safety and diligence process to protect the health of Nigerians.
Pfizer had, in a letter to some hospitals across Nigeria last week, advised that Xalatan 0.0005 per cent eye drop solution be recalled immediately at patients’ level, and that it has gotten the approval of NAFDAC to halt its distribution in Nigeria.
Speaking with THISDAY, Motloung said: “We made the recall because we take patient safety very seriously and as a precautionary measure, we have decided to initiate this recall.
“As part of our going safety and diligence processes, Pfizer became aware of the existence of counterfeit Xalatan eye drop bearing authentic Pfizer lot details being distributed in the legitimate supply chain.
“Xalatan is classified as an ophthalmic glaucoma agent and lowers pressure inside the eye by increasing the amount of fluid that drains from the eye. Xalatan eye drops are used to treat certain types of glaucoma and other causes of high pressure inside the eye.”
Motloung advised patients who have concerns to contact their physicians or healthcare providers for advice, adding that, “Pfizer has informed the health authorities in Nigeria, where these impacted Xalatan lots were discovered. Corrective action has been implemented to help address this issue. Assuring the safety and quality of our medicines is of paramount importance to Pfizer”.
On July 3, 2019, the Senate asked NAFDAC to recall Avastin Intra-occular Injection for the treatment of eye defects. It was alleged that 10 patients went blind after administration of the injection at the National Eye Centre, Kaduna. Avastin was originally approved for the treatment of cancer.
A recent research conducted by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) showed that NAFDAC has one of the lowest ministries, departments or agencies interaction with the media in Nigeria.