– As 3rd IPHEX Africa expo attracts NAFDAC DG, other notable pharmacists
In what has been considered a major breakthrough in its war against drug cloning, India has emerged as the first country to introduce a tracking device to authenticate the quality and quantity of pharmaceuticals leaving its shores.
This much was disclosed by Mr Udaya Bhaskar, director general, Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) at the opening ceremony of the third International Exhibition for Pharma & Healthcare (IPHEX Africa), held recently at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
When asked if India is also experiencing the hydra-headed problem of drug counterfeiting and cloning, Bhaska declared that drug faking is not exclusive to Nigeria.
“In all fairness, I must admit that faking is a global issue. It does not apply only to the pharmaceutical industry alone, it affects every other sector too. I guess that was why India came up with this innovative tracking device to monitor every product leaving the country.
“With its launch, India has since been identified as the first country to deploy such novel tracking device to monitor all her exports,” he announced.
Regarding the third IPHEX Africa expo, the Pharmexcil boss remarked that he was happy with the level of support it had received so far from the Nigerian government, National Agency for Food Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) as well as various pharma associations since the inception of the annual programme.
“It has not only improved the relationship between both countries but has also enabled a lot of pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies to grow and have direct access to government-recognised pharma companies from India,” he said.
Organised under the aegis of Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) in conjunction with the Indian High Commission, Indian Pharma Manufacturers Importers of Nigeria (IPMIN) and Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria (APIN), the 2019 edition of the annual IPHEX Africa programme had 53 Indian pharmaceutical companies and some notable healthcare professionals turning up for the eventful expo.
Among the numerous products on display were drugs, nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical formulations, APIs, veterinary drugs, healthcare products, as well as some over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-based medicines.
In a related development, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, director general, NAFDAC, has applauded the organisation of the event, saying that it was quite impressive.
When quizzed by journalists on what NAFDAC was doing to curb continual influx of counterfeit drugs from foreign countries like India, she explained that the solution lies in further strengthening of bilateral arrangements between Nigerian and Indian pharma regulatory bodies.
“This is the bulk of what we discussed today. You know they have their own regulatory bodies that also track and identify people with inclination to commit such felony, just as we equally do in Nigeria. This is the more reason we need to work together,” she said.
On complaints that manufacturers and other pharma entrepreneurs are increasingly finding NAFDAC registration process frustrating due to delay and negligence on the part of the officials, Adeyeye debunked the claim saying that people still have the old picture of the regulatory body in mind.
“NAFDAC has changed now. It is not what many used to think. Today, no paper or file is delayed anymore. Processing of those papers you mentioned should not take more than 120 days at the most,” she reassured.
Among notable health professionals who graced the events were Pharm. Lolu Ojo, former chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP); Pharm. Ade Popoola, managing director, Reals Pharma; Pharm. Samuel Adekola, chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Pharm. Ernest Okafor, managing director, Nemitt Pharma; Peter Esele, managing director, Pemason Pharma; Aakash Kotari, managing director, Sagar Vitaceuticals; Jaiprakash Pande, director of operations, Africure Pharmaceuticals Limited and Maheesh Vaswani, SK Medicines Limited.