The House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services has summoned the minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to appear before the Committee to explain the efforts made by his ministry towards protecting the country from the menace of fake drugs and also to make his presentation.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Tanko Sununu, made the pronouncement at the public hearing on the Bill for an Act to repeal the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods (miscellaneous provisions) act cap c34, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 and to make provisions for the prohibition and control of counterfeit medical products, fake drugs and unwholesome processed foods and for related mattes 2021, in Abuja.
The Bill was sponsored by Hon Tanko Sununu And Hon Samuel Babatunde Adejare.
The Committee chairman who was visibly angry for the inability of the minister to appear and make submission on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health said that the action of the Minister was uncalled for.
He said: “We are trying to find solution to the many challenges in the health sector and the ministry that is in charge of that responsibility did not see the urgency in it to make it position known to the general public.
“On that note, we still look forward in the next 24 hours to get the position of the ministry on that particular Bill otherwise, whatever the recommendations of the general public, we will take it.
“To say that the department of food and drugs of the ministry of health cannot sit down and draft a recommendation that can be approved by the Minister or Permanent Secretary and submit is a serious administrative lapses and the committee will not take it lightly.
“The Minister, is therefore, to appear before the Committee on Tuesday by 11 am to explained what it has done in protecting the country from the menace of fake drugs and also to make their presentation.”
On his input, Pharmacist Hashim Ubale Yusufu, who was one time chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit drugs, suggested that the enforcement of the provisions of the Act should be vested in an independent body.
He explained that the Bill on counterfeit and fake drugs is meant to remove or reduce to the barest minimum the circulation of substandard counterfeit medicine or medical products in Nigeria.
On whether it is going to the reduce the powers of NAFDAC, he said that NAFDAC has its powers, “it looks at all products that are either produced or imported into Nigeria within the powers, this could be drugs, cosmetics and others to make sure that they are safe and efficacious at production or importation into Nigeria and give it marketing authorization. That is the work of NAFDAC.
While making her input, the director general of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said that her agency was fully in support of the Bill.
Represented by Kingsley Ijiofor, director investigation and enforcement of NAFDAC as well as the chairman, Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake drugs, Adeyeye said: “Security is a component of what we are considering here. It is easy to kill many people with just a bottle of falsified or substandard drug.
“We are here not to reinvent the will but to strengthen the power of NAFDAC to fight the incidences of counterfeiting. Just like what we have in the USFDA.”.