The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has directed the recall of 2 .4 million bottles of cough syrup containing codeine after a recent audit of the substance, carried out by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
According to a statement made available in Abuja on Sunday by the Director, Media and Public Relations of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Boade Akinola, the recall demonstrated the Federal Government’s resolve to stem the abuse of codeine and other substances in Nigeria.
Akinola said the minister had recently received the final report of the 22- man Stakeholders Committee set up by the Ministry to address the worrisome menace of codeine abuse in Nigeria. Akinola also quoted Adewole as saying that the audit trail and subsequent recall of the substance was part of recommendations of Stakeholders Committee set up by the ministry to address codeine abuse in Nigeria. Reports show that as many as three million bottles of codeine syrup are drunk every single day in just two states, Kano and Jigawa.
The minister said the committee members were drafted from a broad spectrum of the health sector in collaboration with relevant agencies as part of Pharmacovigilance and renewed effort to monitor drug distribution channels and sanitise the system .
The Minister recalled that the committee was an offshoot of the Press release issued by the Ministry on the temporary ban of Codeine production and distribution. Codeine syrup addiction is a problem across Africa, with reports of addiction in Kenya, Ghana, Niger, and Chad. In 2016, India banned multiple brands of codeine cough syrup following reports of addition.
Adewole said the committee has Director -General of NAFDAC , Prof. Christianah Adeyeye as the chairman . Other members include Muhammad Abdullahi , Chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency ( NDLEA), Elijah Mohamed, the Registrar of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria ; Mr Moshood Lawal , Director , Food and Drugs Services , Federal Ministry of Health; Ahmed Yakasai, President , Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria ( PSN ) among others .
The Federal Government had on May 1, banned the production and importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough syrup preparations to check substance abuse among Nigerians. The minister, who commended NAFDAC for its proactive action on abuse of codeine, also directed NAFDAC to ban the issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations.
He also directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN ) and NAFDAC to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine-containing cough syrups nationwide. The federal government had also banned the sale of cough syrup containing codeine without prescription .
The minister however ordered that cough syrups containing codeine should be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive . Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant used to treat coughing. It is also a drug of the morphinan class with sedative , dissociative , and stimulant properties Stakeholders in the health sector and many prominent