Monday, 15 December 2014

NAFDAC will soon start herbal medicine trial

By: CHIOMA UMEHA

To ensure that only good quality, safe and effective herbal medicines are distributed and used, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, NAFDAC, and Nigeria Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRID, plan to commence limited clinical trial on some Nigerian herbal medicines used for life-threatening ailments like HIV/AIDS among others. 

The Director-General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, said this weekend, in Lagos during a one-day symposium to celebrate this year’s International Traditional Medicines Day, adding that the clinical trial had become necessary following recent noticeable swing from the earlier bias in favour of orthodox medicine to greater acceptance of traditional medicines in the country. Orhii said with this new trend, the need to ensure that only good quality, safe and effective herbal medicines were distributed and used became paramount to the Ministry of Health. His words: “With this new trend, the need to ensure that only good quality, safe and effective herbal medicines are distributed and used became paramount to the Federal Ministry of Health.” He added that the agency decided to carry out the trial due to the burden of unauthorised advertisement of herbal medicines with unsubstantiated claims on cure of serious diseases with the intention to deceive unsuspecting members of the public. 

The NAFDAC boss said: “In furtherance of this, we have a burden of unauthorized advertisement of herbal medicines with unsubstantiated claims on cure of serious diseases with the intention to deceive unsuspecting members of the public.” He said that the agency had set up a National Expert Committee on Verification of Claims by herbal medical practitioners, adding that by the first quarter of 2014, the agency, in collaboration with NIPRID, would also begin evaluation of herbal medicines. Orhii said: “We have established standards and guidelines for the registration of herbal medicinal products in Nigeria to ensure successful implementation of the aspects of the mandate relating to herbal medicines. 

“NAFDAC has banned illegal advertisements of herbal medicinal products and bogus claims of cure for disease conditions.” According to him, the NAFDAC Decree No. 15 of 1993 as amended, now Act Cap Nl Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 mandated the agency to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, chemicals and packaged water.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on Sept 5,  2013.

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