Pharmacists in Nigeria under the umbrella of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), have blasted the Senate for claiming that about 42 antimalaria drugs banned by the European Union (EU) were still in circulation at the Nigerian market.
The pharmacists not only picked holes in the claim but said that the drugs being listed as banned were mono therapy drugs, which Nigeria no more used.
In a chat with the media over the issue, the PSN President, Ahmed Yakassai, said: “the alarm raised was uncalled for as the issue is stale and has been addressed in the past.”
Yakassai, who was visibly disappointed over the Senate alarm, added that “the World Health Organization guideline had okayed a combination therapy for treatment of malarial, which Nigeria had already adopted.
“The list of antimalarial medicines circulated on social media contains oral monotherapies, which are not the recommended medicines for treatment of uncomplicated malaria in Nigeria.
“The recommended combination medicines for malaria in Nigeria are Artesunate+Amodiaquine (AA), Artemether+Lumefantrinr (AL) and Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine (SP), which are also the WHO recommended combinations.
“The European Medicines Agency’s website was searched and it was established that: Artesunate is used in combination with Amodiaquine, Artemether is used in combination with Lumefantrine, Pyrimethamine is used in combination with Sulphadoxine, Proguanil is used in combination with other active pharmaceutical ingredient in Atovaquone, Halofantrine is recommended by WHO for use in area where multiple drug resistance Plasmodium falciparum malaria is prevalent.”
He further said that the claims that the drugs will lead to liver or Kidney Failure does not hold water, as it has no scientific backing.
“The claim in respect of poisoning and kidney failure have no clinical or scientific backing”, he said.
The PSN President further directed the Senate to the WHO guidelines for treating both complicated and uncomplicated Malaria, which is already operational in Nigeria
Meanwhile the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Friday said it will reflect and respond appropriately to the claims as at when due.
It could be recalled that the Nigerian Senate had on 20th of July 2017 deliberated and raised alarm over antimalarial drugs that have been banned in Europe but are still sold in hospitals and pharmacies in Nigeria.
The Senate also mandated its Committee on Health, both Secondary and Tertiary being led by Senator Olarewaju Tejuoso, to urgently carry out an investigation into the matter and report back.