NAFDAC intensifies crackdown on illegal drug manufacturers

National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has intensified crackdown on illegal manufacturers and distributors of herbal preparations and other unregistered preparations, with a view to bringing perpetrators to book and minimising usage of illicit substance.

To this end, the agency has detained a herbal medicine practitioner, Alhaji Salisu Sani (also known as Baba Aisha), for manufacturing herbal medicine with expired registration licence and illegal advertisement and sale of Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid.

Briefing journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said the agency has commenced nationwide mop-up of the drug, popularly called Baban Aisha and urged Nigerians to desist from its use.

She disclosed that Sacra Herb, which licence expired in 2019, was approved for the management of pile and associated pains, but the company went beyond limit, prescribing the medicines for the treatment of waist pains, typhoid, ulcer, pile and toilet infection.

Adeyeye, who noted that the agency recently received reports and concerns on the drug following investigative report released by an online media organisation, explained that the agency had, in 2018, received an application from Sacra Multi-Links Ltd, for the registration of Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid.

She observed that following regulatory protocols, the agency granted listing approval with NAFDAC registration number A7-2590L for the drug for the purpose of management of pile and associated pains, and the notification of the registration of the product was granted on the September 6, 2018, valid till September 12, 2019.

Adeyeye added that the company on August 12, 2020 applied for renewal of its licence, but following regulatory audit of the company’s production facility, compliance directives were issued to them for non-conformers observed in the facility for which the company was expected to correct.

She pointed out that the company, however, did not correct the lapses observed, following which the product registration licence was not renewed.

She said: “Following the viral social media outburst on the nefarious activities of Sacra Multi Links, the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC carried out surveillance, followed by enforcement action, leading to the sealing of the factory and the arrest of two staff members of the company, who were complicit in the criminal act.

“The following day, the Managing Director of Sacra Multi Links, Alhaji Salisu Sani, reported to I&E office in Kaduna and when his vehicle was searched, the following herbal drugs were evacuated from the vehicle: Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid and two additional unregistered herbal preparations namely Baban Aisha Man Power and Delay and Cure Powder Kai Kadai Gayya. All the products found with the Managing Director and those found in the company were sent to NAFDAC laboratory for analysis.”

Adeyeye revealed that the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of the Agency recently clamped down on some distributors of some herbal medicines, following intelligence report received by NAFDAC that these herbal medicines were mainly in the Northern part of the country.

She observed that findings revealed that the herbal snuff were manufactured in Ghana and was approved for use as an analgesic by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) of Ghana but it’s being wrongly packaged and passed-off as a snuff for the Nigerian market.

“Investigation further revealed an alarming trend in the use of these poisonous preparations by wide section of the populace, cutting across all genders and age groups, including young boys and girls, men and married women, drivers and artisans.

“The snuff, popularly called ‘Shake’ or ‘Angoro’ herbal powder comes under different street names, such as: AK 47, Moringa, Black Coffee (Dan Kano), Magic powder, Lufthansa, Desert Warrior, etc.

“The chemical substance in these deadly products of abuse is pyridine, which belongs to a class of toxic alkaloids found in some plants of the Nicotiana species, which include the tobacco plant. It can be highly addictive and it is associated with a range of serious health consequences, including increased risk of cancer, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

The NAFDAC boss stated that the successful investigation on Sacra Herbs (Baban Aisha), Hajiya Aisha special snuff AK 47 and other herbal medicines goes to drive home the fact that eradication of fake and counterfeit drugs, adulterated and unwholesome processed foods and other regulated products is a holistic battle, which should involve every well-meaning Nigerian.