Abuja, Feb. 5, 2018 (TNE) The Federal Government on Monday said it has developed a National Policy for Controlled Medicines and its Implementation Strategies to prevent drug diversion and abuse.
The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, made this known at the launch of Drug-Related Health Policies and Guidelines in Abuja.
He said that the government collaborated with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to develop the policy.
Adewole, who was represented the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Osarenoma Uwaifo, said the measure is to ensure sustained availability and access to controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes in the country.
He stated that it is regrettable that narcotics, which are mostly abused, remain largely unavailable and inaccessible for medical use in the country.
According to him, the report released by Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI) in 2012 showed that only 0.1 per cent of patients with HIV and AIDS and Cancer could access narcotics.
The minister added that many categories of patients who require narcotic medicines to manage moderate and severe pain in Nigeria can not access them.
He said that patients suffering from injuries caused by accident and violence, some chronic illnesses and those recovering from surgery, are also confronted with the challenge.
The problem of inaccessibility is attributed to limited quantification of annual requirements and inadequate and irregular release of funds for procurement. Others are limited supply chain mechanism, poor prescription practices and issues of fear and stigma among many healthcare workers and the general populace.
He said that the new policy and guidelines will address the gaps and improve the provision of life-saving medications for Nigerians.
The minister noted that the policy is anchored on patient’s needs, human rights and global best practices. It also elaborates practical approaches to ensure improved availability and accessibility to controlled medicines.
The policy articulates a comprehensive framework that clearly describes the supply chain with embedded quality assurance mechanisms and adequate provisions to prevent diversion.
In her remarks, the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said the agency has stepped up and renewed commitment in tackling use of controlled drugs in the country.
Adeyeye stared that in the next few weeks, she will launch a campaign in collaboration with Young Pharmacy Group to sensitise young boys and girls in schools to controlled drugs.
She said “just this morning, officials of NAFDAC intercepted two trucks of Tramadol and it is being investigated; we shall address the press when we conclude our investigations”.