NAFDAC warns against illegal importation of syringes 

NAFDAC warns against illegal importation of syringes 

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned against importation of syringes from foreign countries, saying the act may kill local pharmaceutical industries.

NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday .

admonished members of the new executive of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) who were on a courtesy visit to her office in Lagos to think more of the interest of the country above personal as a clearing agents in the nation’s ports.

She enjoined the agents to join forces with the NAFDAC to end the rejection of Nigerian food exported to EU, USA and other western countries.

She also narrated how she marveled at the stupendous investments committed to local production of Syringes in Nigeria by a local pharmaceutical company during a recent facility tour.

The NAFDAC boss said that the standard of the facilities she met on ground was comparable to those found in the U.S. or any country in Europe.

She said after the facility tour and being led into the warehouse, she was highly disturbed at the sight of huge unsold products.

She said that over 1.5 billion units of the product were lying untouched in the warehouse due to low sales, exacerbated by the influx of imported syringes into the country, in spite of the high import duty slammed on the product to protect the local market.

She also noted with regrets that intelligence reports reaching her indicated that some compromises were being made at the port of entry in allowing illegal importation of unregistered containers of syringes into the country.

The NAFDAC DG revealed that a publication by the United States Food and Drug Agency (USFDA) stated that some syringes that came from Southeast Asia were of bad quality

Adeyeye wondered that those products didn’t fly by night into warehouses in Nigeria, but through individuals.

The NAFDAC boss expressed sympathy for manufacturers, stating that she was pained by the challenges of not making sales, especially after investing a significant amount of money.

Adeyeye explained the important role of licensed customs agents as pivotal in facilitating the legal and safe import and export of goods, ensuring compliance with required standards.

She welcomed the familiarisation visit, highlighting its objective in establishing effective collaboration and cooperation.

She said the visit would enhance the positioning and promotion of trade in regulated products, both at the domestic and in the international market.

She also noted that the visit and discussion were important, considering the volume of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria currently facing challenges of rejection at entry points in some foreign countries.

‘’Nigeria has lost billions of naira in trade that could have benefitted our people.

“About 70 per cent of our exports are rejected, food products especially; all these rejected products did not go through NAFDAC regulatory assessment, it disgraces us as a country.

She said further that it had become a great issue of concern the number of substandard products coming into the country.

“That is why I attach importance to this association because the goods that are either imported or exported, often play a crucial role in determining the strength of our economy.

In the area of exports, she said the international market was competitive in nature.

According to her, only products of high quality with relevant certifications and quality packaging was acceptable to the global trade.

She noted with dismay that the problem of quality, standard, certification and appropriate packaging for made-in-Nigeria products destined for export had been an issue in the international market.

She  however, emphasized the need to address the issue of rejections, adding that some exporters obtained the wrong documentation, especially fake lab results, instead of bringing their products to NAFDAC’s ISO 17025:2015 accredited labs for analysis.

According to her, NAFDAC is the competent authority in Nigeria charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and consumption of drugs, food and other regulated products.

’”NAFDAC, having attained the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems that covers all her regulatory processes and procedures and certified WHO GBT maturity level 3, places great premium on deepening use of science in its regulatory processes and self-developments.

’’The D-G however pointed out that the agency believed in collaborative efforts with both local and international organizations to complement her robust regulatory policies geared in protecting consumers and promoting public health.

She also said that the agency was committed to ensuring that only regulated products and the systems for the production were safe for public consumption.

According to her, the agency has analysed the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alert from the EU and observed that most rejected products by the EU having failed the relevant tests, did not have the appropriate documentation/certifications.

She said that such situation really called for proper collaboration and synergy among all stakeholders to curb the negative behaviour of some of those exporters and ensure only quality and certified products were exported.

Adeyeye told the guests that as licensed custom agents, they were responsible to let their members know the importance of assessment and accompanying shipping documents, adding that goods were cleared through customs with all necessary regulations.

 The National President of ANLCA, Mr Emenike Nwokochi, who spoke in the same vein, lamented that it was shameful to buy yam abroad and be told that it was from Ghana when Nigeria was the highest producer of the product.

He said that Nigerians could not do anything to help the Naira even when it continued to fall.

He, however, pledged his association’s resolve to work in collaboration with NAFDAC to achieve the common goal of developing the nation’s economy. (NAN)

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