© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
NAFDAC shuts down Emzor, others over codeine production
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut down pharmaceutical giant, Emzor, for alleged failure to cooperate with the agency in its investigation of the illegal pushing of cough syrups with codeine into the black market.
This was contained in a statement issued on Monday by Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General of NAFDAC, which also revealed that two other pharmaceutical companies were shut down alongside Emzor.
The two other companies are Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited, both located in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital.
The statement read in part: “Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during 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.
“The companies are the Peace Standard Pharmaceutical ltd. at Plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited. No 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara state. Also shut down was the Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos.
“This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation; the three companies therefore remain closed.
“The reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation.”
The development is a follow up reaction to a documentary by BBC which revealed how unscrupulous officials of big pharmaceutical companies push thousands of bottles of codeine cough syrups to the Northern region of Nigeria where there is currently an outbreak of substance abuse.
The documentary particularly captured a sales representative of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, who boasted to undercover reporters, posing as potential codeine buyers, that if he had a million cartons of codeine, he would finish them in one week.
Emzor, in reaction to the story, said it had suspended the marketer as well as launched an investigation into how he came into possession of such huge quantity of cough syrups.
Similarly, following the airing of the documentary, the Federal Ministry of Health announced a ban on the production or importation of cough syrups containing codeine.
Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, directed NAFDAC to revoke the licences issued to any importer for products containing codeine. He also urged the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria to ensure the recall of all codeine products that is already in circulation across the country.