Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has disclosed that it has mapped out plans to inspect the facilities of 614 herbal medicine outfits nationwide.
It said the move was to take the herbal medicine practice to a greater height, such that products would be globally acceptable and competitive in the international market.
A statement by NAFDAC’s, Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, quoted the Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, as having stated this in her message to commemorate the 2023 International Traditional Medicine Day, last Friday.
Adeyeye, said guidelines for the Good Manufacturing Practice in herbal medicine production had been prepared by the agency, adding that the agency was working on series of training for the practitioners to get them accustomed to the guidelines.
According to her, officers of the agency would thereafter commence vigorous inspections of facilities to ascertain the level of preparedness of the herbal practitioners in the business after the training.
Based on the training they would receive, she said, “we will be able to make sure that they follow the guidelines to the letter,” stressing that NAFDAC would pass down the knowledge of the guidelines to the over 614 herbal medicines facilities in Nigeria.
The DG explained that the facilities have been divided into zones, with NAFDAC’s staff across the federation to be deployed for the exercise.
“In the South-west, our staff in Lagos, Ibadan, and Ogun will be deployed for the exercise. Likewise, people in the north, south-south and other zones”, she said, noting that deploying NAFDAC staff in each zone for the job would reduce the cost on the agency.
Adeyeye disclosed that the stakeholder’s training would start with Lagos, which has over 317 facilities, noting that, “we can’t enforce the rules when we have not taught them what to do.”
She said after the training the herbal practitioners would be given about a month or two to get themselves ready before the agency’s staff visit them for inspection, adding that, “anyone who is not functioning well will either have his facility shut or placed on hold.”
Adeyeye commended efforts of herbal medicines manufacturers across the country for their resilience, noted with a sense of pride the foray of several herbal formulations at the clinical trial preparatory to getting approval for NAFDAC registration number.
“In herbal production, the level of hygiene is not so high. We have been telling those facilities that we visited that they needed to do something about their filling,” she added.
She identified capsule filling as one aspect of their operations that had posed a big challenge.
Admitting that sometimes the herbal medicines were in capsules or syrup, she said, they don’t have an automated filling machine for capsules.
She noted that the manual method was not safe, warning that after December, the agency would not register any company without the semi-automated or automated capsule filling machines.
“The earlier we raise our standard the better for us,” she added.