Codeine Abuse: NAFDAC Shuts Down Emzor Pharmaceutical, Two Others

By Dipo Olowookere

Operations at Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited and two other big pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria have been shut down by the management of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The two other pharmaceutical firms closed down by NAFDAC are Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited.

This action by the regulatory agency followed the documentary released by BBC, highlighting the abuse of codeine cough syrups in the country by some youths with top pharmaceutical companies having hands in this scandal.

Confirming the closure of the three firms, Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, said in a statement on Monday that the firms will remain shut to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation.

According to Prof Adeyeye, the reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.

The NAFDAC boss the affected companies allegedly refused to abide by regulations on the distribution of certain medications.

“Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies – Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited. Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited. No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited, Ajao Estate, Lagos.

“This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation.  The three companies, therefore, remain closed,” the statement said.

The statement disclosed further that, “A team of nine NAFDAC officers (two from Drug and Evaluation Research – DER and seven from Investigation & Enforcement – I&E) and 10 mobile police officers were sent to Ilorin, Kwara state on May 2, 2018 to carry out investigational inspection at the companies of the two different pharmaceutical companies that are licensed to manufacture codeine-containing syrup, and which were implicated in the BBC documentary.”

The reopening of the manufacturing companies according to Adeyeye will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via

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