By Chioma Obinna
LAGOS—A team of pharmaceutical experts from Ethiopia yesterday arrived the country to understudy Nigeria’s Food and Drug Regulatory System, with a view to replicating same in their country.
The team, led by Ethiopia’s Deputy Director, Ethiopian Food Medicines and Healthcare and Control Authority, EFMHACA, Mr. Dawit Dikasso Dilbeto, has begun a working tour of NAFDAC facilities nationwide.
Addressing journalists shortly after the tour of NAFDAC facilities in Lagos, Dilbeto explained that the aim of their visit was solely to understudy NAFDAC’s activities in terms of inspection, monitoring, capacity building and experience sharing, among others.
Dilbeto, who testified that he was impressed with the development in NAFDAC regulatory system, said Ethiopia had been following recent developments in Nigeria’s food and medicine regulatory system in the last two years.
He said: “In the last two years, we have found that Nigeria is the best place to share experience. Ethiopia is now expanding in population and we need to expand our operations as regards regulatory processes in terms of food and medicines in order to protect our population.”
“From Nigeria we are expecting a lot of capacity building and experience sharing from NAFDAC. We are expecting experience in the area of registration, licensing and the whole system. Counterfeit medicine is a global challenge especially in Africa and there is need for us to collaborate to fight the menace.
“The control of import process from the port of entries is critical in fighting counterfeiting which NAFDAC has done excellently well.
“From what we just saw now, it has all the relevant professionals like customs, legal professionals and IT system professionals. It is quiet significant.”
On the visit to NAFDAC Food Laboratory, he said although most people worry about shortage of foods, the main worry of regulatory agencies was the quality of foods being produced, adding that most of the sub-standard foods were the main cause of ailments people treated in the health facilities.
Also speaking, the Director General of NAFDAC, Dr Paul Orhii, noted the importance of effectiveness in the global community, adding that the agency now had a
Rapid Alert System that would give an alert if a product was discovered to be fake in another country before it entered Nigeria.
“Right now, the world is a globalised village because different components of the products are manufactured in different countries and then moved across international boundaries and coupled in the third country and distributed in the fourth country. To be effective locally in regulating these products, you have to be effective globally,’’ Orhii said.
He said because Nigeria had become more efficient in chasing out counterfeited anti- malaria drugs, with the introduction of Mobile Authentication Service, MAS, and Truscan, the counterfeiters were now showing up in neighbouring countries.
According to him, many of these countries are increasingly calling on Nigeria to collaborate with them.
He further called for more active collaboration to push out counterfeiters from Nigeria, and other countries of the world.