By Hassan Zaggi
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has disclosed that, as at Wednesday, it has received only one application for approval of a product used for the treatment of Covid-19 in Nigeria.
In fact, the only request, the agency said, it has received is for the treatment of Covid-19 symptoms and not cure for the disease.
In a statement in Abuja, Wednesday, the Director General of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, challenged Nigerians who claim to have developed cure for Covid-19 to present it to the agency to enable it subject it to internationally recognized process of evaluation.
“NAFDAC has only received application from one company for a product the company is presenting (for approval) to the Agency for the treatment of the symptoms of Covid-19, and not for the cure of Covid-19 as a disease,” she stressed.
The NAFDAC Director General, however, insisted that, “a claim of a cure must be subjected to clinical evaluation through well controlled, randomized clinical trials following an approved clinical trial protocol.”
It would be recalled that many Nigerian scientists and herbal practitioners have, over the past few weeks, claimed that they have developed cure for Covid-19.
Adeyeye reiterated that NAFDAC “will continue to encourage all stakeholders to present the products of their research findings and allow these remedies go through internationally recognized process of approval through pre-clinical and where applicable, clinical trials.”
According to her: “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 product (including herbal remedies) that have proven safety data will be approved for use by the public.
“As the body with the mandate to regulate the conduct of clinical trials in the country, NAFDAC is committed to encouraging and supporting sponsors with appropriate guidance to expedite the development of effective interventions to treat or prevent COVID-19,” she said.
Prof. Adeyeye explained that as part of the efforts to advance herbal products development, she sets up what she christened, Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee (HMPC).
The platform, according to her, brought together manufacturers, academia, researchers and relevant stakeholders to bridge the gap often created between traditional medicine practitioners (possible patent holders) and drug manufacturers, whose responsibility it would be to formulate the products.
“This collaboration, brokered by the Agency, aims at translating research of herbs into products of commerce with proven safety & efficacy.
“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,” she explained.