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Withdraw banned medicines, foods from circulation, NAFDAC warns importers

In its efforts to rid the country of substandard medicines and unwholesome food products, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has warned all importers, distributors and marketers in the country still stocking banned food and drug products contained in the Import Prohibition List to immediately withdraw them from circulation.

The regulatory agency said it is leaving no stone unturned to arrest and prosecute violators of this extant policy as the Federal Government’s ban on these commodities is still in force.

Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, who gave the warning at a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, said NAFDAC is working in collaboration with Nigeria Customs Service and other agencies of government to combat the influx of substandard and unwholesome regulated products through illegal routes into the country.

“NAFDAC is determined to enforce the ban through intensified surveillance, monitoring and enforcement activities.

We will continue to do our best to ensure Nigeria is not a dumping ground for cheap, adulterated and substandard regulated products”, Oni said.

According to the D-G, some of the banned items include: refined vegetable oils and fats – H.S Code 1507.1000.00-1516.2000.29, Spaghetti/Noodles – H.S. Codes 1902.1100-1902.30.0000.

Others are Fruit Juice in retail packs – H. S. Codes 2009.11.0012-2009.11.0013-2009.900.99 and waters, including mineral waters and aerated waters containing added sugar or sweetening matter or favoured.

Oni revealed that medicaments under headings 3003 and 3004 such as Paracaetamol Tablets and Syrups, Cotrimoxazole Tablets and Syrups, Metrinidazole Tablets and Syrups, Chloroquine Tablets and Syrups were also on the banned list.

She also listed Heamatinic formulations; Ferrous Sulphate and Ferrous Gluconate Tablets, Folic Acid Tablets, Vitamin B Complex Tablet (except modified released formulation), Mosquito Repellant Coils – H. S. Code 3808.91.10.91 (Mosquito Coil) to be among them.

Others were multivitamin tablets, capsules and syrups (except special formulation), Aspirin Tablets (except modified released formulation and soluble aspirin), Magnesium Trisilicate Tablets and suspensions, among others.

Apart from arresting and prosecuting one Mrs Chika Nwaemeka Nwoye and Mr Ebuka Ojeani Nelson for their involvement in faking, sale and distribution of fake Archilin with Codeine Cough Syrup, the NAFDAC boss said the agency was also investigating one Mr. Udoka Offor of No. 24, Vital Akekwu Street, Nneochi LGA, Abia State for illegal production, distribution and sale of suspected counterfeiting of COF ‘N’COLD with Codeine Syrup.

Oni also said the agency recently intercepted several cartons of fake pharmaceutical products and packaging materials in a 1 x 40ft consignment declared as agricultural parts at the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Lagos. The consignment was imported with the name Amara Duben Global Ventures.

The fake products included 15 cartons of Laclox capsules, 19 cartons of Augmentin 625mg tablets, Eight cartons of secondary paper packs for Augmentin and 12 cartons of aluminum foil for Augmentin 625mg.”

She noted that the products which were neatly concealed behind vehicle spare parts have been evacuated and that investigation was ongoing to apprehend the cartel.

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