Stop Importation of Medical Syringes—NAFDAC

January 29, 2024
medical syringes

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has cautioned members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to desist from importation of medical syringes, saying the illegal act may kill local pharmaceutical industries.

In a statement signed by NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Ms Sayo Akintola, the agency urged members of ANLCA to think more of the interest of the country over and above personal gains in their activities as clearing agents at the nation’s ports.

It said the NAFDAC Director-General, Mrs Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the advice in Lagos on Thursday during a familiarisation visit by the newly inaugurated executives of the ANLCA, led by its national President, Mr Emenike Nwokochi, to the NAFDAC Lagos corporate office.

Mrs Adeyeye narrated how she marvelled at the stupendous investments committed to local production of syringes in Nigeria by a local pharmaceutical company during a recent facility tour.

She said that the standard of the facilities she met on the ground was comparable to whatever facility that could be found in the US or any country in Europe, adding that after the facility tour and being led into the warehouse, she was highly disturbed at the sight of huge unsold products.

The NAFDAC DG told her guests 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, despite the high import duty slammed on the product to protect the local market.

Mrs Adeyeye however, noted with regret that intelligence reports reaching her indicated that some compromise is being made at the port of entry in allowing illegal importation of unregistered containers of syringes into the country.

She revealed that a publication by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that some syringes that come from Southeast Asia are of bad quality, adding that those products didn’t fly by night and land in different warehouses in Nigeria.

“I understand the challenges of not making sales, especially after investing a significant amount of money. That’s why I am particularly meticulous when it comes to overseeing our export processes,” she said.

As licensed customs agents, Mrs Adeyeye emphasised their pivotal role in facilitating the legal and safe import and export of goods, ensuring compliance with required standards.

She said the facility tour aimed to enhance the positioning and promotion of trade in regulated products, both domestically 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 that is currently facing challenges at entry points in some countries in Europe, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, where they have been repeatedly rejected.

‘’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 stated.

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

“That’s why I attach significant 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,” he added.

Mrs Adeyeye further said that the international market is competitive and only welcomes products of high quality with relevant certifications and quality packaging that is environmentally friendly and beneficial to trade globally.

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.

The DG further disclosed that the Agency had 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, were not having the appropriate documentation/certifications.

On his part, the National President of ANLCA, Mr Nwokochi lamented: ‘’It’s shameful that when you buy yam abroad they tell you it is from Ghana, or any other country in West Africa when Nigeria is the highest producer of yam.

‘’We can’t do anything to help the Naira other than to increase the level of exports in the country to provide an alternative source of raising foreign exchange,’’ he added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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