NAFDAC Orders Primary Health Agency, NPHCDA To Source Syringes, Needles Locally

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has stopped import orders and directed the National Primary Health Agency (NPHA) to source syringes and needles from local manufacturers in measures to boost local production, generate employment and boost the economy.

Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC stated that the last import order was given to NPHA in December 2023 with the instruction that it should source locally thereafter, adding that the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has also been directed to patronize the local manufacturers of syringes to provide employment opportunities to Nigerians through the expansion of operations of the Nigeria manufacturing companies.

Minister of State for Health, Tunji Alausa also sought the outright ban of medical devices that could be produced locally and hinted at a total ban on imported syringes to encourage local production and help to grow the nation’s economy.

Alausa’s call coincided with Adeyeye who said relevant agencies should adopt a holistic approach to solve the problem of substandard falsified medical devices coming into the country through the ports.

They spoke Thursday at the visit to the multi-billion Naira ultra-modern Afrimedical Manufacturing and Supplies Limited Syringe factory located within Karameh Industrial City, Arepo, Ogun State, and attended by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzo-Anite, Minister of State for Youth, and Sports Development, Ayodele Olawande, United Nations Deputy Secretary General,  Amina Mohammed and the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Aisha Rimi.

The Food and Drug Administration boss disclosed that the Agency had ended granting import authorisation to importers including international partners, and explained that NAFDAC has halted syringe imports to promote locally made syringes.

“This suspension applies even to syringes previously imported by NAFDAC’s international partners. The goal is to shift the focus towards supporting domestic syringe manufacturing.

She informed further that the local syringe manufacturers and the agency are currently engaged in hand-holding in which inappropriate operations are being corrected, adding this initiative has earned recognition from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which recently requested for names of the three syringe manufacturing companies in Nigeria to do business with.

She disclosed that the names were supplied to WHO and they have been contacted for guidance toward prequalification and eventual access of the products for use.

She lamented that some medical devices still come into the country with the aid of compromised officials at the ports adding that despite the high tariffs on the importation of syringes to discourage importation, She, nevertheless, expressed regret that the system in the ports negates that policy.

”That is the problem. It’s going to be a holistic government approach to tackle the problem. It’s not something that only NAFDAC, SON, or Customs can do. It must be all-embracing.

The NAFDAC boss however noted that the locally manufactured syringes may be a little costlier, she quickly added that once the local industry starts to have volume the price will come down, advocating zero tariffs for a limited moratorium on critical raw materials and equipment used for local production.

The chairman of Mikano International, the parent company of Afrimedical Manufacturing and Supplies Limited, Mofid Karameh told the visiting top government officials and UN Deputy Secretary General that his company is poised to revolutionize the landscape with its aim to restore Nigeria as the premier hub in Africa. He said the company boasts of an internationally accredited factory with an annual production capacity of 1.8 billion syringes, employing cutting-edge E-beam sterilization technology.

Founded in 2019, he said Afrimedical has emerged as a prominent provider of medical solutions, delivering products such as 2ml, 3ml, 5ml & 10ml sterile hypodermic syringes, 0.5 ml auto-disable immunization syringes, face masks, and sanitizing tunnels. Afrimedical Manufacturing and Supplies Limited, a division of Mikano International Limited manufactures hypodermic syringes and other healthcare products, providing solutions to Africa’s health needs and saving lives. Tailored to protect medical institutions and professionals in Nigeria and throughout Africa from virus-related infections, Karameh said these solutions showcase Afrimedical’s commitment to healthcare safety.

The Managing Director of Afrimedical, Akin Oyediran emphasized the company’s plans to manufacture high-quality syringes not only for Nigeria but also for some neighbouring countries. He added that the company uses 30 per cent less plastic with high-quality medical-grade materials in its production.

He noted that the initiative to prohibit syringe imports will diminish the prevalence of substandard products in the Nigerian market and establish a conducive environment for local manufacturers in the pharmaceutical sector to flourish.

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