By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Workers in the chemical and non-metallic products sector of the economy on the platform of National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees, NUCFRLANMPE, have faulted the Federal Government’s blanket ban on the use of codeine in producing some pharmaceutical products in the country.
The union contended that the blanket ban could lead to about 23,000 job losses in the pharmaceutical industry, as many companies manufacturing cough and pain relieving drugs might have to close down.Speaking through the President of the union, Comrade Babatunde ‘Goke Olatunji, pleaded with government that instead of the blanket ban, it should find a way of controlling the use of codeine as being done in the USA and the UK.
According to him: “Codeine is an analgesic with uses similar to those of morphine but it is much less potent as an analgesic and has only mild sedative effects. It is also used in the treatment of cough, diarrhoea as well as other chronic conditions such as arthritis and migraine. It is obvious that some criminally-minded people are using this product as a narcotic as done all over the world, including advanced countries like US and UK but codeine is also an important raw material in the production of pain- relieving and cough suppressant drugs.”
He said instead of the blanket ban, the government should adopt a system in which prescription of the drug will be strictly adhered to, to prevent closure of many pharmaceutical companies in the country and the attendant job losses.“If the blanket ban continues, many big pharmaceutical companies will close shop, while those who do not close will have to scale down their operations.
This can lead to downsizing and many of the workers will be thrown back into the labour market. This defeats one of the cardinal policies of job creation and job security by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime.