Codeine epidemic: FG shuts down Emzor, two other pharmaceutical companies

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut down three pharmaceutical companies over the codeine syrup scandal.

The companies include Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited.

Director-General of the Agency, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye in a statement on Monday said the companies will remain shut to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation.

Among the allegations levelled against the closed companies include refusal to abide by regulations on the distribution of certain medications.

“Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018 at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all product lines of the three companies – Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited. Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited. No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos. This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation. The three companies, therefore, remain closed,” the statement read in part.

The reopening of the manufacturing companies according to Adeyeye will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.

The statement added further that Adeyeye had earlier called for an emergency meeting with the PMG-MAN Executive to discuss critical issues relating to Codeine-containing cough syrup together with other controlled substances.

Also, a Task Force to be made up of NAFDAC Directors- Registration and Regulatory Affairs; Narcotics and Controlled Substances; and Drug Evaluation and Research. Members of PMG-MAN in the Committee included the Executive Secretary of PMG-MAN, Fidson Healthcare; May & Baker PLC; and Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries was constituted by the DG.

“A team of nine NAFDAC officers (two from Drug and Evaluation Research – DER and seven from Investigation & Enforcement – I&E) and ten mobile police officers were sent to Ilorin, Kwara state on May 2, 2018 to carry out investigational inspection at the companies of the two different pharmaceutical companies that are licensed to manufacture codeine-containing syrup, and which were implicated in the BBC documentary,” the statement added.

A documentary by BBC recently exposed the addiction of some Nigerians, mostly youths, to codeine and reported the complicity of some pharmaceutical companies.

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