NAFDAC’s clarification on Nigerian herbal medicines for COVID-19 cure

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has reacted to the allegation that it’s sidelining COVID-19 cure by Nigerian companies.

The agency and the federal government have been accused of sidelining local herbal solutions for coronavirus and importing herbal syrup from Madagascar.

AMICHI MAGAZINE recalls that Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has claimed that the federal government was yet to show interest in his COVID-19 drugs.

Iwu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Bioresources Development Group, said the government should be interested in the drugs he and his research group came up with and others made locally.

But NAFDAC boss, Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement, said despite reports, only one company has applied for clinical evaluation of its herbal mixture to treat symptoms of COVID-19.

She added that others who claimed they have applied for evaluation of supposed COVID-19 cure had made their applications on social media, not to NAFDAC.

The statement reads: “The rush to mitigate the mortality and morbidity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in acceleration of product development, repurposing of formulations, off label use of therapeutics and the search for a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

“In a bid to discover a cure, the public has witnessed quite several claims from different quotas; Complementary and Alternative Medicines Practitioners, Traditional healers, and Academia.

”It is pertinent to note, however, that these claims are domiciled in either the conventional news media or social media.

“NAFDAC has only received an application from one company for approval of a product for the treatment of the symptoms of COVID-19, and not for the cure of COVID-19 as a disease.

“A claim of a cure must be subjected to clinical evaluation through well controlled, randomized clinical trials following an approved clinical trial protocol.

“Many plants are very poisonous as the agency that has been saddled with the mandate of safeguarding the health of the citizenry, NAFDAC, will continue to make sure that only medicinal products (including herbal remedies) that have proven safety data will be approved for use by the public.

NAFDAC added that in order to promote herbal products, the Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee has been set up by the Director-General, NAFDAC.

The platform brings together Manufacturers, Academia, Researchers and relevant stakeholders by bridging the gap often created between traditional medicine practitioners and drug manufacturers to formulate the products.

“The committee has met three times since inception, on March 15, 2019, September 6, 2019, and the most recent one being a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 8, 2020.

“Call for expression of interest for the COVID-19 related medicines was made; several researchers and practitioners have responded and are being guided to submit such medicines to NAFDAC for expedited review,” the statement added.

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