The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has reiterated the need for traditional medicines practitioners in Nigeria to collaborate with researchers with a view to making herbal products internationally acceptable after clinical trials.
Speaking on the occasion of African Traditional Medicines day, Prof Adeyeye, noted that “the African Traditional Medicines day is August 31st of every year. She however, posited that the event should be a daily reflection of who we are as Africans. ‘’African Traditional Medicines Day in Nigeria lives with us every day. This is what we need every day’’
NAFDAC has been on the issue of making traditional herbal medicines prominent with regards to the activities of the agency. To this end, in March 2019, shortly before the advent of COVID -19 in Nigeria, the DG called for a meeting of all stakeholders including pharmaceutical industry, academia, herbal medicine practitioners and legal practitioners. The essence of the meeting was to engender a culture of collaborative effort aimed at promoting research, discovery and production of herbal products.
The DG, in a goodwill message on the occasion signed by NAFDAC Resident Media and Communication Consultant, Sayo Akintola, noted that herbal medicines renaissance in Nigeria has already begun. She stressed that the nation has the biodiversity and complementary human capital to sustain herbal medicines production.
Moreover, the government through the Central Bank of Nigeria is making loans available to qualified manufactures of pharmaceutical products, including herbal medicines. The agency currently has about 40 applications submitted by interested parties, many of these are for listing while only very few are for clinical trials.
It’s important to note that while the listing of a herbal product guarantees safety, and it is for two years at first instance, a herbal product that has successfully gone through clinical trials has NAFDAC ‘s full registration and the claims of efficacy and cure can be made by applicants.
A further step to enhance collaborative efforts between the various stakeholders in the herbal medicines industry is the institutionalization of confidentiality agreement between parties. This is necessary to assure traditional practitioners that patents will not be lost in the process of collaboration.
In this same vein, the ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Trade Mark Office, and legal practitioners in the area of protection of intellectual property were brought into discussions by the Agency. She added that NAFDAC’s development of modalities for registration of herbal products is to encourage the growth and standardization of the sector.
The Director General stated that the ultimate goal, with regards to traditional herbal medicines is to come up with products that are not only marketable in the country, but also acceptable globally.
This can only happen, however, when NAFDAC as the regulatory authority subjects products that are submitted for approval to global standards.
She therefore encouraged everyone or party with products to bring their applications forward. Registration procedures are already made simple through the Agency’s online NAPAMS (NAFDAC Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System).
‘’The Agency has the mandate to safeguard the health of the citizenry, and this would continue to be done by making sure that all herbal products are subjected to the required safety and/or efficacy test(s)’’, she assured.