Addiction: PCN starts recall of codeine cough syrup

Addiction: PCN starts recall of codeine cough syrup

- Following federal government's directive, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria has started recalling cough syrup containing codeine from its stakeholders

- Regulatory bodies were directed by the minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to supervise the recall

- This is because the drug is being abused by some Nigerian consumers

The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) says it has started recalling cough syrup containing codeine from its stakeholders in compliance with federal government's directive.

The registrar of PCN, Elijah Mohammed, revealed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday, May 19, in Abuja.

The minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, had directed PCN, NAFDAC and other regulatory bodies to supervise the recall of codeine from the market, NAN reports. notes that Mohammed reaffirmed that codeine is an opioid drug similar to morphine which has been approved and accessed over the counter in low doses for relieving patients of symptoms associated with dry cough.

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According to the registrar, codeine in such preparation, usually in smaller doses, serves as a cough suppressant and relieves pain associated with the stress of coughing.

He said: “However, due to its inherent properties when used in high doses over a long period, it has been associated with dependence and powerful addictive propensity especially when used for recreational purpose."

Mohammed noted that the council in view of the ministerial directive has carried out enforcement exercise in Ogun, Sokoto and Nasarawa states, adding that same activities were currently going on in Adamawa.

The registrar noted that the council had met with the leadership of the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors (PPNVs), among other stakeholders, in the pharmaceutical industry in order to facilitate the recall.

Mohammed, who emphasised that codeine containing cough preparation was not included in the approved medicines list of PPMVs, however urged them to desist from the sales of codeine and other unethical drugs in order to guard against sanctions.

According to him, the council as part of efforts to rid off codeine in the society had also met with the leadership of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) and they made a strong commitment to enforce the recall process as well.

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The registrar said: “In continuation of various efforts of implementing the ministerial directives, PCN enforcement team has been strengthened to ensure strict compliance with regulations and extant policies as they relate to the council’s mandate.

“PCN is the agency of the federal government established by Cap P17 LFN 2004 and charged with the responsibility of controlling and regulating pharmacy education, training and practice in all aspects and ramifications."

Mohammed, however, appealed to manufacturers, importers and distributors of drugs to display more sense of ethical and moral responsibilities in the production, supply and sales of codeine.

He added: “Economic interest and financial considerations should not override the health implications associated with the abuse of these preparations. The health of Nigerians must come first before any other interest."

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Meanwhile, previously reported that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was directed by the federal ministry of health to ban with immediate effect further issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough syrup preparations.

This was contained in a statement on Tuesday, May 1 by the minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

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