By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says it has evolved a five-year plan to boost effective, safe and structured medicine supply chain toward protecting citizen’s health.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, made the disclosure on Tuesday at the ongoing 2nd African GS1 Healthcare Conference in Lagos.
Theme of the three days conference is: “Track and Trace for Access to Safe Medicine.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that track and trace in the pharmaceutical supply chain is the process of determining a drug’s current and past locations.
When track and trace is correctly implemented, a drug can be tracked throughout the supply chain and trace back up the supply chain upon return or recall.
Adeyeye said that Nigeria was operating an open market medicine distribution system which had led to counterfeit and falsified medicines in its distribution network.
She said that the agency had developed a track and trace platform to monitor drugs through the distribution chain so as to maintain quality, standards and avoid infiltration of the system by unregistered or substandard products.
Adeyeye said that NAFDAC partnered Global Standards 1 (GS1) and other global partners to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of the medicine supply and distribution chains in the country.
“With track and trace system, we would be able to trace medicines across the supply chain, that is from manufacturers to distributors, the sellers and finally to the patients.
“Implementation of the GS1 standards in Nigeria will tremendously advance our regulatory efficiency as we strive to reduce the scourge of substandard and falsified medicines.
“This will probably be one of the greatest legacies to bequeath to the future Nigeria and Africa, because this will reduce the number of people that died from substandard and falsified medicines,” she said.
To achieve the pharmaceutical traceability vision, Adeyeye said that the agency would establish a governance structure, strengthen regulatory environment and create efficiencies.
Others are: build and sustain technology to support interoperability and enable use of standard to authenticate what was dispensed to end users.
She said that the agency was optimistic of achieving a 70-per cent success in the medicine supply chain after the five years target.
Also, Mr Tunde Odunlami, Chief Executive Officer, GS1 Nigeria, said that safe medicine could be a reality for Africa, if procedures and processes were effectively implemented.
Odunlami said that track and trace system in healthcare would ensure that more lives were saved as patients gets the right medicine.
He said that the new system would sanitise the drugs and food distribution in Nigeria and improve the healthcare indices.
Also, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said it was crucial for NAFDAC to sustain its partnership with GS1 to achieve its five-year tracking and tracing target.
Ehanire, represented by Dr Tunde Salako, Director-General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), said that ensuring tracking and tracing in medicine would change the narrative of Africa, being described as a disease-burden continent.
Similarly, Tom Woods, Chairman, Global Steering Committee for Quality Assurance, World Bank, said that pharmaceutical traceability would boost the integrity of Africa’s healthcare.
“Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is impossible if we do not deliver health. Pharmaceutical traceability is a key building block for this,” Woods said.
He said that track and trace combines other key regulatory functions and does not replace it to achieve supply chain visibility.
Woods said that traceability could not be achieved without adequate funding, thus necessitating partnership with the private sector and World Bank.