NAFDAC urges drug marketer to relocate to coordinated wholesale centres

To stop the sale of substandard and falsified medications, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has asked open drug marketers to move to Coordinated Wholesale Centres.

At a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, made the appeal.

According to her, drug regulatory organisations have expressed frustration with Nigeria's disorganised drug distribution system.

The main reason why SF medicines are in circulation is because of the disorganised flow of medication from the producer to the end user in the supply chain. This process is detrimental to the effectiveness of pharmaceutical products.

The Presidential Committee on Pharmaceutical Sector Reform was established in 2003 with the goal of eliminating SFs and devising strategies to sanitise Nigeria's drug distribution system. The PCPSR produces the Coordinated Wholesale Centres. Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, is one of the CWC's architects and fully supports the centres.

"The PCPSR recommended the creation of National Drug Distribution Guidelines as a crucial tactic to coordinate the drug distribution sub-sector, and the then-Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, gave all operators in the open drug markets in Kano, Lagos, Onitsha, and Aba until December 2018 to relocate to CWC."

Adeyeye said, "The NDDG gives the regulatory agencies, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, and the NAFDAC a clear mandate to ensure its full implementation and compliance by all concerned stakeholders."

She mentioned that the first CWC was constructed in Kano to ensure appropriate regulation of drug distribution and sale in Nigeria and to mitigate SFs.

Remember that the open drug marketers in Kano were ordered by Justice Simon Amobeda of the Kano Federal High Court to move their stores to Dangwauro CWC, which is situated on Zaria Road in Kano state, on February 16, 2024.

In response to this court decision, NAFDAC and the Nigerian Pharmacy Council launched an enforcement campaign on February 17 and 18, aiming to force the medicine dealers to relocate from the open drug markets of Sabon Gari, Malam Kato, and Mai Karaimi to the CWC.

In all, 1,370 packing houses and wholesale drug stores were closed in the three open drug markets.

"The ruling that the open drug marketers ought to relocate to the Kano CWC is enormous since it will greatly reduce the occurrence of inferior medications and improve regulation over drug distribution.

"Since I took office in 2017, one of my administration's eight pillars has been the drive to mitigate SFs. As a result of the efforts made, NAFDAC and PCN have reached Maturity Level Three. According to her, PCN only had one WHO Global Benchmarking module (Site Licence) and NAFDAC had seven.

The NAFDAC DG stated that open drug marketers in Lagos, Onitsha, and Aba will be held to a higher standard by the court order, so they should be prepared to relocate into the CWCs in their respective cities as soon as these facilities are constructed.

"The Federal Task Force, which operates in conjunction with the states and has its headquarters at NAFDAC, includes the establishment of CWCs in various cities as one of its functions," she continued. The state governments and governors will need to be urged by the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare to work with NAFDAC and PCN as members of the Federal Taskforce to support the construction of CWCs in other cities. Soon, the Honourable CMHSW will receive a brief on this.

"The medicine dealers should view this move to the CWC as a step in the right direction towards preserving public health and as an additional front in the ongoing battle against subpar and counterfeit medications."

She continued, "Taking SFs out of circulation will improve the health of Nigerians and the country's economy since only well-maintained bodies can generate positive economic effects."