Minister of Health halts sale of codeine, replaces it with dextromethorphan

Minister of Health halts sale of codeine, replaces it with dextromethorphan
  • Orders NAFDAC to supervise recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrup
  •  Codeine containing cough syrups to be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive
  • An embargo has been placed on all new applications for registration of codeine-containing cough syrups
  • New applications for renewal of codeine-containing cough syrups have been abolished.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has issued a statement halting the sale of codeine across the country and ordering a recall for labelling and audit trailing. The directive became imperative in the light of what he described as the gross abuse Codeine usage has been subjected to in the country.

The statement was a swift reaction to the BBC expose which drew attention to the extent of the Codeine addiction in the country.

The hour long investigative report was anchored by Ruona Agbroko, daughter of slain Thisday Editor, Godwin Agbroko. Ruona was also a former columnist for

Following an emergency meeting with NAFDAC and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group (PMGMAN), the minister directed NAFDAC to fully regulate and control the manufacturing, distribution and sale of drugs, including inspection at points of entry of drugs, drug products and food for compliance with the new directive.

He also directed the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to continue enforcement activities on Pharmacies, Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor’s Shops and outlets throughout the country.

 The minister noted that “The Federal Ministry of Health shall ensure collaboration among regulatory agencies namely, NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), for effective implementation of extant Acts, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage. Furthermore, these agencies shall work together to increase pharmacovigilance around codeine, tramadol and other related substances of abuse.”

The minister also announced the launch of an awareness campaign to discourage youths from drug use and addiction. He said the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health shall partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Football celebrities, members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Performing Musicians of Nigeria and other celebrities to drive a national campaign against drug abuse.

 “The FMOH shall ensure that Drug treatment intervention for victims of substances abuse shall be undertaken across the spectrum of health care delivery system in the country,” Adewole promised.

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