- Nigerian medical experts have expressed disappointment in the federal government's plan to import a herbal tonic from Madagascar
- The health workers who kicked against the plan described the government's move as disgraceful
- The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has, however, listed four reasons why Nigeria should avoid the herbal remedy
Following the federal government's plan to import COVID-Organics (CVO), a herbal tonic from Madagascar for the treatment of coronavirus, Nigerian medical experts have kicked against it, The Guardian reports.
Pharmacists under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and other medical workers in the country excluding medical doctors under the umbrella of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) have expressed their opinions on why Nigeria should not import the herbal tonic.
Legit.ng gathered that PSN in reaction to the federal government's plan on Tuesday, May 12, rejected the importation of the herbal tonic and described it as “thoroughly disgraceful.”
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the president of PSN, said medical experts in the country are shocked that the government is about to spend scarce foreign exchange to import herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO).
He said: “While in principle we would not mind Nigerian government importing any new drug that is proven to cure COVID-19 or indeed any other disease for which we have neither the capacity, nor the technology to produce locally, we are totally appalled that Nigeria is about to spend scarce foreign exchange to ‘import coal into Newcastle’.
Even if we are not going to pay for this, it is thoroughly disgraceful that a country that should be the leader of Africa, with the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will allow itself to be dragged this low.”
The PSN president listed the following reasons why Nigeria should not import the herbal tonic:
- Nigeria has about 174 universities; 20 faculties of pharmacy and about 69 federal government-funded research institutes, including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Abuja and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos while Madagascar has only six universities, one faculty of pharmacy and nine research centres.
- Nigeria has some of the best scientists (pharmaceutical, medical, biochemical, biological, among others) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines.
- Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna–potent sources of phytomedicines.
- Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘invention’ from Madagascar does.
Ohuabunwa went on to note that pharmacists recommended that a portion of the funds donated for the pandemic should be dedicated to local research and development, however, the government has remained silent.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government has firmly stated the Madagascar Covid-19 herbal remedy will be subjected to regulatory medical process before it can be used for the treatment of coronavirus cases.
Addressing journalists on Tuesday, May 12, coordinator of the presidential task force on Covid-19, Sani Aliyu, said due processes will be observed in line with Nigeria's legal frameworks and guidelines.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, broke the news at the daily briefing of the task force, which he heads on Monday, May 11.
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