NAFDAC clears air on antimalaria drugs rumours … says no killer drugs in circulation
By NGOZI Onyeakusi
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has dispel rumours which has gone viral in the social media of presence of killer Antimalaria drugs in circulation.
The agency stated categorically that there were no “killer” Anti-Malarial medicines in Nigerian market.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos, the NAFDAC , Acting Director-General, Dr. Yetunde Oni, disclosed that the conference became necessary to dispel the rumour, following a report by the Senate that the European Union (EU) banned 42 anti-malaria drugs are still being sold in Nigeria.
According to the list in circulation in the country, the drugs are considered dangerous and linked to cause of kidney failure.
Oni explained that the drugs being listed as banned were mono therapy drugs, which Nigeria no more use.
“The main objective of this press conference is to douse the tension and correct the misinformation on the social and mainstream media about the Forty Two (42) Anti – Malarial medicines purportedly banned by the European Union but allegedly circulating in the country.”
“It is pertinent to mention that the allegedly banned anti – malarial medicines are oral monotherapies containing single Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) such as; Artesunate
as contained in Arinate Tablet, Amodiaquine as contained
in Camoquine , Dihydroartemisinin as contained in Alaxin Tablet , Pyrimethamine contained in Daraprim Tablet “, she said.
Reiterating that the anti-malarial monotherapies were not recommended for treatment of malaria in Nigeria, recommended anti-malarial medicines for treatment of malaria in Nigeria to include ARTEMISININ COMBINATION THERAPIES (ACTs) and advised public to look out for ACTs while buying antimalarial drugs.
“The use of Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) in the treatment of malaria is in line with the guidelines for the treatment of malaria, 3rd edition, World Health Organization 2015, Geneva Switzerland. The Nigeria National Anti-Malarial Treatment Policy, February 2005 supports the use of ACTs”
On Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP) , she explained that it is also a combination anti-malarial medicine recommended by both the World Health Organization and the Nigeria National Anti-Malarial Treatment Policy for INTERMITTENT PREVENTIVE TREATMENT (IPT) of malaria.
She said that NAFDAC had stopped registration of anti-malarial monotherapies adding that anti-malarial monotherapies in the distribution chain were captured during the August 2015 survey to enable the Agency mop them from circulation.
“NAFDAC Zonal coordinators were directed to conduct surveillance and mop up activities. This exercise has been sustained to ensure that the incidence of oral anti-malarial monotherapies is brought to the barest minimum.”
Also pledging to continue to ensure access of Nigerians to safe and efficacious medicines and wholesome regulated products , Dr Oni urged the public to make use of the agency’s mobile authentication service (MAS) to detect counterfeits by scratching and texting to short codes to ascertain genuine drugs despite its registration number from NAFDAC.