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Speech by NAFDAC DG at National Pharmaceutical Traceability Strategy launch October 08, 2020

BRIEF BY DIRECTOR-GENERAL NAFDAC AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE NIGERIA PHARMACEUTICAL TRACEABILITY STRATEGY AND INUAGURATION OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TRACEABILITY STRATEGY HELD ON THE 8TH OCTOBER 2020 AT THE MINISTRY’S CONFERENCE ROOM, 6TH FLOOR FMOH, FEDERAL SECRETARIAT COMPLEX, ABUJA

November 20, 2020,

Greetings: The Honourable Minister for Health, invited guests, Director, FDS, members of the yet-to-be-inaugurated Traceability Steering Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, all other protocols duly observed.

It gives me great pleasure as we continue on the journey to safeguarding the health of the citizens of our dear Nation by the launch of the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Traceability Strategy and the inauguration of the Traceability Steering Committee (TSC), for which reason we are gathered here today.

Safeguarding the health of the Nation is a daunting task in the face of the chaotic drug distribution system currently existing in Nigeria. The falsification and diversion of health commodities carry very serious health and economic consequences. The consideration of these consequences vis-à-vis the mandate of NAFDAC to regulate and control, among other things, the distribution of drugs and other regulated products is sufficient motivation to adopt and implement strategies that can assist in the fight against the menace of substandard and falsified medicines (SFs), and thereby improve the regulatory control of the medicines supply chain in Nigeria by providing visibility across the value chain.

In September 2019, NAFDAC hosted the largest gathering of African medicines regulatory authorities ever assembled to promote medicines traceability using global standards. With support from the World Bank’s Global Steering Committee for Quality Assurance and an historic Call to Action, some 25 African countries and six (6) health financing and donor organizations declared their commitment to implementing GS1 traceability standards to help achieve greater supply chain integrity and fight fake medicines in their respective countries.

The Nigeria Pharmaceutical Traceability Strategy being launched today presents NAFDAC’s priority objectives that guided the development of a comprehensive operational plan, and contributes to strengthening the existing regulatory and legal frameworks required to publish and enforce a traceability regulation and related guidelines. The launching of this strategy document is the first step in positioning Nigeria to be a leader in driving traceability of pharmaceuticals on the Africa continent.

NAFDAC is committed to the implementation of pharmaceutical traceability in Nigeria as part of the regulatory strengthening and underscoring of its mandate. To this end, the Agency has developed a 5-Year Traceability Implementation plan in line with the objectives of the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Traceability Strategy to achieve supply chain visibility and strengthen its pharmacovigilance activities against the scourge of SFs and Medical Devices. The Agency has also established a Traceability Office (GS1 Desk) and a Technical Working Group to drive the activities in the 5-year implementation plan.

I am acutely aware of the spike in falsified medicines that many countries face as a result of COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions. We must therefore act fast as we anticipate the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, a commodity that will be in short supply, to protect it from falsification and diversion. The emergence of falsified versions of the COVID-19 vaccine would do irreparable harm to the already challenging task of vaccine literacy and acceptance.

We collectively face one of the largest and most challenging medicines distribution efforts ever. The technology exists to quickly create what I would call a “lean traceability” solution that will help regulatory agencies and donor institutions work together to quickly identify and remove falsified COVID-19 vaccines from distribution.

Finally, I acknowledge the support of the Honorable Minister and his team at the Ministry, and the contributions of all our stakeholders and partners, and I look forward to your continued collaboration and support. Thank you all

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