Codeine Emzor does not understand why NAFDAC shut down its production site

The pharmaceutical company said it had fully cooperated with the authorities.

  • Published:
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A young Nigerian filmed consuming codeine

(BBC)
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Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited has expressed its confusion over the decision of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to shut down one of its sites where Emzolyn with codeine was produced.

In a raid by the agency on Monday, May 7, 2018, Emzor, Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited and Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited had their production sites shut down due to their inability to provide required documents during the inspection of their facilities.

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The three pharmaceutical companies were implicated in a recent undercover report by the BBC which exposed how senior employees of the companies were contributing to the abuse of codeine-based cough syrups in the country by flooding the black market with their products.

In reaction to the ban, Emzor has released a statement to disclose that only one of its sites was shut down while the rest are operational, noting that it had fully cooperated with the authorities.

The statement read, "NAFDAC have only temporarily sealed one of Emzor's production sites, the liquid line. The rest of Emzor is still operating as normal.

"On Wednesday the 2nd of May NAFDAC inspected one of our production sites where Emzolyn with Codeine was made. There were given full access and our complete cooperation, with no issues raised at the time.

"On Monday the 7th of May, NAFDAC sealed the inspected site without giving us a reason nor an explanation of what the violation of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Code was and it will be wrong for us to speculate as to the reason why.

"Emzor continues to make good quality affordable medicines for the Nigerian public and the products are still available to buy. We believe in Emzor Wellocracy, unlimited wellness available to all and affordable by all."

Why NAFDAC shut down Emzor, 2 others

In a statement released by NAFDAC's Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, about the operation on Monday, the product lines of the three companies were shut down because they didn't provide needed documents.

She said, "Due to insufficient evidence gathered and apparent resistance to provide needed documents during our inspection on May 2, 2018, at the respective companies in Ilorin and Lagos, respectively, it has become necessary to shut down all the product lines of the three companies - Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, plots 3 & 8, Adewole Industrial Estate, Lubcon Avenue, Ilorin, Kwara State; Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited, 405 Kaima Road, Ilorin, Kwara State and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Ind. Ltd., Ajao Estate, Lagos. This is to allow for a full and comprehensive investigation. The three companies, therefore, remain closed.

"The reopening of the manufacturing companies will depend on the level of cooperation that is shown during the comprehensive investigation."

Following the airing of the BBC documentary, the federal government announced a ban on the use of codeine as an active agent in the production of cough syrup.

After one of its sales representatives was caught on camera boasting about how he supplies large quantities of the codeine cough syrup through illegal channels, the company suspended him and suspended the production of the extremely addictive drug.

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