Lagos, Nigeria – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has issued a public alert warning Nigerians against the consumption of substandard Paracetamol imported from Liberia. In an official statement posted on Twitter on Thursday, NAFDAC highlighted the potential dangers associated with the drug and urged the public to exercise caution.
The alert was triggered after NAFDAC received a sample of Paracetamol suspension called “PARA CLEAR SUSPENSION 125” from the Liberian Medicine and Health Product Regulatory Authority for laboratory testing at the NAFDAC Central Drug Control Laboratory (CDCL). The subsequent analysis revealed the presence of toxic ethylene glycol, a substance not expected in legitimate product formulations.
Moreover, the sample failed to meet the requirements for acute oral toxicity, resulting in the deaths of five laboratory animals. NAFDAC stressed that both diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, found in the substandard Paracetamol, are highly toxic to humans and can have fatal consequences. Symptoms of toxicity may include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury, which can ultimately lead to death.
Paracetamol Suspension is commonly used for the treatment of mild to moderate aches and pains, including headache, migraine, neuralgia, toothache, sore throat, and menstrual pains. It is also utilized to reduce fever and alleviate symptoms of cold and flu. NAFDAC emphasized that the contaminated product, though not registered in their database, poses a significant risk to public health.
Importers, distributors, retailers, and consumers have been advised by NAFDAC to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain to prevent the importation, distribution, sale, and use of substandard and contaminated syrups. The agency strongly recommends that all medical products be obtained from authorized and licensed suppliers, urging individuals to verify the authenticity and physical condition of the products before purchase.
In light of this development, NAFDAC warns against acquiring medicinal products from unauthorized sources, such as roadside vendors and street hawkers, as counterfeit drugs are often smuggled into the country through such illicit channels. The agency urged individuals in possession of the substandard Paracetamol to discontinue its sale or use and submit any remaining stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.
“If you, or someone you know, have used this product, or suffered any adverse reaction/event after use, you are advised to seek immediate medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional,” NAFDAC stated. The agency also urged healthcare professionals and consumers to report any suspicions regarding the sale and use of substandard and falsified medicines to the nearest NAFDAC office. Additionally, they encouraged reporting of any adverse events or side effects associated with the use of this medicinal product.
NAFDAC remains committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of Nigerians, ensuring that only safe and quality medications are available in the market. Public cooperation and increased vigilance are crucial in combating the circulation of substandard and counterfeit drugs within the country.
Dr. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC, emphasized the agency’s dedication to protecting public health. “We are fully aware of the risks posed by substandard and falsified medicines and we are working tirelessly to prevent their entry into the Nigerian market,” she stated. “The safety of Nigerians is our top priority, and we will continue to take decisive actions to ensure that only quality products are accessible to the public.”
This latest alert serves as a reminder for individuals to remain vigilant and cautious when purchasing and consuming medications. NAFDAC urges all members of the public to only obtain medical products from authorized and licensed sources. The agency encourages consumers to check for proper labeling, expiration dates, and other necessary product information before use.
Furthermore, NAFDAC advises healthcare professionals to stay alert and report any suspected cases of substandard or falsified medicines to the nearest NAFDAC office. By collaborating with healthcare practitioners and the general public, NAFDAC aims to create a robust and effective system for monitoring and regulating the quality of drugs in Nigeria.
It is important to note that NAFDAC is not only concerned with the importation and distribution of substandard medicines but also with the unauthorized sale and use of such products. The agency is actively working to dismantle illegal drug distribution networks and apprehend those involved in the production and trafficking of counterfeit medications.
NAFDAC continues to intensify its efforts to ensure that Nigerians have access to safe, effective, and quality medicines. The agency urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to the sale and use of substandard drugs. By working together, healthcare professionals, regulatory bodies, and the public can protect the health and well-being of the Nigerian population and eliminate the threat of substandard and counterfeit medicines.