The issue of adverse drug reactions and substandard and falsified medicines is global one. To effectively monitor worrisome reactions of drugs in the country, Isreal has pledged to support Nigeria to end manufacturing and distribution of sub-standard drugs through improved pharmacovigilance.
Pharmacovigilance (PV) is defined as the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects or any other drug-related problem.
The new partnership is targeted to end the scourge and improve the quality of healthcare in the country through enhanced pharmacovigilance.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) established its Programme for International Drug Monitoring in response to the thalidomide disaster detected in 1961 and promotes PV at the country level.
At the end of 2010, 134 countries were part of the WHO PV Programme.
The aims of PV are to enhance patient care and patient safety in relation to the use of medicines; and to support public health programmes by providing reliable, balanced information for the effective assessment of the risk-benefit profile of medicines.
Consequently, Israel in partnership with NAFDAC organised a seminar to promote activities relating to the collection, detection, assessment, monitoring, and prevention of adverse effects with pharmaceutical products in the country.
Speaking at a three-day capacity building for NAFDAC staff, themed ‘ Serialisation and Pharmacovigilance Seminar’, recently held in Lagos, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General, NAFDAC, said the workshop was organised to further strengthen the existing relationship between Nigeria and Isreal.
She also said the workshop was also designed at training NAFDAC staff on how to reduce the incidence of sub-standard drugs.
According to her, it further aims at building internal capacity, with emphasis on track and trace, adding it is important to know that the medicine that left the site is the same medicine that the patient is getting.
“We will have track and trace desk in NAFDAC to make sure people get quality. We also have to ensure that adverse effects of drugs that happen anywhere in the country is reported so we can have a record,” she said.
Adeyeye explained: “During the World Health Assembly in Geneva, I emphasised the importance of quality medicines for Africans, the need to strength the regulatory system and involve local manufacturing to provide jobs and for drug security.”
The Director General of NAFDAC therefore urged participants to take advantage of the capacity building exercise to apply knowledge gained to minimising the incidence of substandard products, stressing on the need for sustained relationship for the benefit of the both countries.
Prof. Adeyeye said; “I have no doubt that this collaboration will help in addressing concerns of substandard and falsified medicines, and strengthen pharmacovigilance activities in the country.
She said; “I am also optimistic that our countries will benefit immensely from this collaboration and therefore calls for concerted efforts to sustain this for its mutual benefit.”
Adeyeye further noted that all drugs manufactured, imported and distributed in Nigeria must be registered with NAFDAC for quality management.
“It is also important to emphasise that for medicines to be manufactured, imported, distributed and sold in Nigeria; they must be registered with NAFDAC.
“In this regard, all pharmaceutical companies that are desirous of marketing their products in Nigeria are hereby encouraged to take urgent steps to register them.
“This will not only ensure compliance with NAFDAC regulations, but also facilitate their importation, distribution and sales in Nigeria,” she said.
Ambassador Shimon Ben- Shoshan, who represented the Ministry of Health of the State of Isreal, observed that the collaboration was mainly knowledge sharing, adding that this was done for the good of mankind.
He stressed on the need for having the right information, by citing the example of Israeli doctors who encountered a child of about 10 years who had an eye defect, which made him almost blind during their visit to Nigeria.
According to him, the child was observed and treated with antibiotic eye drop which corrected the defect without any surgery.
He explained that the partnership would enable facilitation of information exchange between the nations and upscale collaborative activities in the health sector.
Dr. Olajide Idris, Commissioner for Health, Lagos, stressed on the need for Universal Health Care (UHC), which includes, access to quality health services, essential medicine, safety and quality of care.
He noted that the major challenges in the health sector in Nigeria are diseases, anti- microbial resistance, communicable diseases and mental health, adding that the partnership between the two countries would help curb the challenges.
Dr. Idris stressed; “It is essential that we also look at it from the perspective of public health because it’s everybody’s business and the pharmaceutical companies also have a role to play in public.