By Hassan Zaggi
The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development’s (NIPRD), phytomedicine verification and validation protocol, will ensure medicines security in Nigeria, the Director General of the Institute, Dr. Obi Adigwe, has said.
He stated this during the public presentation of the document in Abuja on Wednesday.
The document was developed by the National Scientific Advisory Committee (NSAC) on COVID-19 cure claims.
It focused on efficient and sustainable utilization of local resources for self-reliance in pharmaceutical production and services.
According to Adigwe: “As part of our Research and Development response, the Institute convened a National Scientific Advisory Committee to develop a standard Phytomedicines Verification and Validation Protocol.
“The committee was made up of 24 professionals amongst whom were 18 Academic Professors from different Universities, Research Centres and International Organizations across Nigeria.
“The protocol contains guidelines for the invitation of claimants; inclusion and exclusion criteria; ranking criteria; guidelines for interaction with claimants/traditional medicine practitioners; Informed Consent Form; validation report form; and protocol for processing and validation of products’ claims.
“While this document was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its contents are generic and can be applied for the verification of phytomedicines medicines in general,” he said.
While reiterating that the protocol was the first of its kind. Adigwe noted that it was developed by experience professionals from different Research and Development background within a very short time in response to COVID-19.
He explained that, “the document is developed to stop exploitation and harmful drugs, it will also help Nigeria, Africa and the world to come to agreement on standardization approach.
“When COVID-19 got to Nigeria NIPRD discovered that there was a number of claims of products that had viability against the virus and these claims were coming from different sources. There was not real science-led approach regarding how these claims came about or validated.
“There is a risk in taking drugs that those who produced it claim can cure COVID-19, so engaging with the claimants and resources have to go into the real areas that scientific research need to be carried out” he said.
Also Prof. Olobayo Kunle from NIPRD and chairman of the National Scientific Advisory Committee (NSAC), on COVID-19 cure claims, said Nigerian herbal medicines are useful and have a large resource in terms of herbal medicine which the institute has a large link between capacity and utilization.
He said NIPRD would provide the required input by using scientific methodology that has been standardized with international recognition.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorimnibe Mamora, applauded NIPRD management for what he described as their thoughtfulness and foresight in convening the National Scientific Advisory Committee which developed this valuable protocol.
“Under my watch, I will ensure that the protocol is implemented in the coming year through adequate budgetary allocation and funding, most especially now that there seem to be an emergence of a second wave of the pandemic in many parts of the world. “
The Minister, however, called on health systems development partners to support NIPRD in implementing the protocol.