AMAECHI PERCY ONYEJEKWE, Awka
The National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut down 16 herbal medicine facilities and seized products in Onitsha, Anambra over illegal operations.
The seizure followed a monitoring and raid exercise of illegal products and facilities mostly in Onitsha and other neighbouring communities of Nkpor and Ogidi by officials of the agency.
Deputy Director and Coordinator of the agency in Anambra, Dr Christiana Esenwa, told newsmen that the agency had so far sanctioned no fewer than 100 practitioners from January 2015 todate.
Esenwa said the affected companies were sanctioned for Illegal manufacturing, sales, hawking and unapproved advertisements in the state.
According to her, in one of the manufacturing facilities (name withheld), a lot of unregistered products with none issued with marketing authorization were discovered.
“We have earlier sensitized the herbal medicine practitioners on the need to have their companies and products registered as well as avoid illegal advertisements of their products without approval of the agency. Rather, they choose to ignore the warnings of the agency and have developed a habit of going back to business even after sanctioning them”, Esenwa noted.
She said the agency was planning stiffer penalties for defaulters with an upward review from the N20,000 administrative charges to deter illegal practitioners from operating without the agency’s approval.
“Before any company goes on air, such company must register their products, get certificate and advertisement permit. From what we saw during the raid, most of the products are unsafe for consumption and may, therefore, pose numerous health hazards to consumers since they have not been tested for purity and toxicity.
“We discovered at another facility that the manufacturing environment was not conducive and lacked minimum good manufacturing practice,” the deputy director said.
According to her, the defaulters with manufacturing outfits will be put through on how best to manufacture products that are safe for consumption.
Esenwa, however, explained that the raid and seizures were not a punitive measure or means to chase practitioners out of business but a way of making them appreciate the due process in their respective businesses.