The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has commended Nigeria for improving the quality of drugs produced locally, a statement has said.
The statement issued in Abuja on Friday by Josephine Kamara, USAID’s Senior Development Outreach and Communications Specialist, said Nigeria had done well in regulating the sector.
It said USAID’s Director, Michael Harvey, gave the commendation when he presented the International Organisation for Standardisation quality certificate to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The statement said Harvey presented the certificate to NAFDAC’s Central Drug Control Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos.
“The report estimates that fake tuberculosis and malaria drugs alone kill 700,000 people a year, including in Nigeria, and tackling the scourge of illegal medicines in Nigeria is a daunting task.
“The good news is that Nigeria is taking concrete steps to turn back the tide.
“Nigeria is not just improving the quality of medicines it produces, but is also testing to make sure imported medicines are in fact what they say they are.
“Nigeria is doing this in accordance with internationally accepted certifications so that this supervision is credible to Nigerians as well as the outside world,’’ the statement quoted Harvey as saying.
The statement said the certification of NAFDAC’s laboratory was supported by USAID.
According to the statement, it is the latest example of USAID’s ongoing effort to contribute to the quality of medicines in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region.
It said Nigeria was one of over 50 countries receiving technical and financial assistance through USAID’s $35 million “Promoting the Quality of Medicines” programme, implemented by the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Convention.
The statement said the programme works with regulatory authorities in developing countries to safeguard the quality of medicines, with a particular focus on priority medicines for treating malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
“Obtaining this world-class accreditation is a laborious process that demonstrates a strong commitment to excellence at every level of the laboratory.
“The NAFDAC Central Drug Control Laboratory’s dedication to continuous improvement will put it in a position to contribute to improving access to good quality medicines, especially anti-malarials,’’ Harvey was quoted as saying.
The statement said the American National Standards Institute-American Society of Quality National Accreditation Board based in the U.S. awarded accreditation to the NAFDAC laboratory.
It said accreditation of the laboratory was particularly important, because Lagos is a primary port of entry for medicines, not just for Nigeria, but also for all of West Africa.
The statement said more than 60 percent of the medicines in Nigeria would be tested at the laboratory.
It said the laboratory accreditation was just one of many ways USAID is building technical capacity in an effort to improve the quality of medicines on the continent.