We live in increasingly stressful times with people flaring up…
The BBC in a bit of impressive investigative journalism brought to the fore an ugly truth the many in Nigeria had known for years- there is a codeine abuse and addiction epidemic in the country.
You can watch the expository documentary, ‘Sweet Sweet Codeine’ here:
Reacting to this shocking documentary, theFederal Ministry of Health has banned the importation and use of codeine-based cough syrups.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole made the emergency declaration on, May 1 which is a public holiday.
The Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) and NAFDAC have been ordered to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups in the country.
The minister explained some of the steps taken so far to counter the widespread abuse of codeine:
“We had an emergency meeting with NAFDAC and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (PMGMAN) to inform them that there is an embargo on all new applications for registration of codeine-containing cough syrups as well as applications for renewal has been abolished.
“NAFDAC was directed to fully regulate and control the manufacturing, distribution and sale of drugs, including inspection at points of entry of drugs, drug products and food for compliance with the new directive.
“The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) was also directed to continue enforcement activities on Pharmacies, Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor’s Shops and outlets throughout the country.
“The Federal Ministry of Health shall ensure collaboration among regulatory agencies namely, NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), for effective implementation of extant Acts, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage.”
The abuse of codeine has become widespread in Nigeria’s youthful population and its relative cheapness and easy accessibility prior to this ban did not help matters. It is left to be seen if these steps by the government will work to curb this negative trend. It definitely does not address the abuse of Tramadol and other drugs being abused in many parts of Nigeria.
There is a need for a holistic approach to tackling this menace and we definitely do not need another BBC documentary before taking action.
Meanwhile, Emzor Pharmaceutical, one of the companies exposed in the documentary has released a press statement detailing its side of the story. You can read it here.