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The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Christiana Adeyeye has praised Nigerian herbal medicine practitioners and researchers, saying they are some of the best in the world.

She also stated that herbal medicines produced in Nigeria have the potency to cure coronavirus, adding however that such products must undergo national and international tests and clinical trials before they can be satisfied as cure for the virus.

Prof. Adeyeye therefore said that so far, no Nigerian herbal medicine can be said to cure the coronavirus but can serve as remedies to manage covid-19 impacts. She said that more than 40 locally produced medicines have been submitted to the agency and are currently undergoing tests of different levels, which she said take a lot of time to conclude.

The NAFDAC boss stated these during a virtual press conference in the Agencies office in Abuja on Tuesday. She was joined at the conference by many of the agency’s heads of directorate while many journalists joined virtually from Lagos and other parts of the country.

On the concerns raised by Prof. Maurice Iwu over his own medicine which he claimed can cure covid-19, Prof. Adeyeye said there was no doubt that Prof. Iwu is an outstanding researcher who is well-respected nationally and internationally, adding however that the Iwu product, just like the others who made submissions, is undergoing tests.

She said even though Iwu is well respected, there was no way his product could be given special treatment as the medicines are to be consumed by human beings and must therefore undergo rigorous processes to ascertain their potency and especially safety for human consumption.

Outlining some of her most remarkable achievements for nearly three years of her stay as head of the Agency, Prof. Adeyeye said staff welfare and the rewiring of workers mindset are one of the greatest achievements her management has recorded. She said she met a workforce with low morale, characterised by strife and industrial disharmony due to accumulated claims, dilapidated work equipments including non availability of operational vehicles for enforcement, lack of laboratory equipments and piled up debt of over N3.2Billion, adding that her management introduced a system that reversed the deficits, paid the debts as well as improved internally generated revenue, IGR, which have combined to bring life into the organization.

According to her, NAFDAC now has a new app that can track vessels in the sea from any part of the world which had now made it difficult for people to bring contraband food and drug products into the country, adding that the Agency was able to track 23 vessels trying to bring banned tramadol into Nigeria and got them seized, in collaboration with other sister agencies. She said even when five of the vessels diverted to other West African countries; NAFDAC was able to track them, leading to their arrests.

Responding to a question on the harassment and extortion of importers of tramadol by the Police, Prof. Adeyeye said not all levels of tramadol are banned in Nigeria. She said only tramadols with above 100mlg are not healthy for consumption, adding that those below 100mlg are safe when purchased under doctor’s prescription.

On the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as treatment for covid-19, the NAFDAC DG said many countries have purchased the drug which they are using to treat the virus, adding that such efforts are being allowed pending when the relevant international authorities would take final decision following the conclusion of clinical trials. She said however that NAFDAC and the Lagos state government are collaborating, in an effort to come up with a final position on hydroxychloroquine and covid-19 treatment.

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