Official Enlightens Students on Importance of Chemistry to NAFDAC
Chemistry serves a very useful purpose in the operation of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), an official of the agency has emphasized.
Mrs T.G Adebiyi, Head, Mycotoxin Unit of NAFDAC, had during her presentation at a recent Town and Gown Seminar of the Department of Chemistry, Covenant University, affirmed the utilization of the process of chemistry in the agency. The Guest Speaker made the presentation “NAFDAC and Chemistry: A National Agency in the Chemical World” and pointed out that classical or wet chemistry involved analytical processes such as titrimetric and gravimetric analysis. “But in recent times, the classical method has been replaced with instrumental methods,” she noted.
In her highlight of the laboratory services offered by NAFDAC, Mrs Adebiyi said that the agency analyzed and made a pronouncement on the quality of regulated products, and it had specialized units, namely drug, food, mycotoxin, organoleptic, pesticide residue, radiation, seafood, vaccine/biological control, vitamin analysis, research, microbiology, pharmaceutical control, instrumentation, and water. She said the laboratories served as a reference point for other governmental agencies, such as the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency and the Nigerian Customs Service, amongst others.
While stating that the importance of controlling drugs could not be overemphasized, the Guest Speaker justified the NAFDAC’s intervention in the My Pikin Baby Teething Mixture that killed scores of children in 2008. The drug, she said, was contaminated with diethylene glycol, which was a deadly toxic substance unacceptable in food or drug preparation. She also said the agency had May 2018 closed down the codeine production line of EMZOR pharmaceuticals to ensure a total ban of codeine in Nigeria.
“A report from the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) indicated how cough syrups with the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) - codeine - was being abused. And, as a result, mentally unstable consumers in northern Nigeria are being put behind bars for constituting environmental nuisance,” said Mrs Adebiyi.
She stated that the mycotoxin laboratory of the NAFDAC analyzed aflatoxins and other mycotoxins in food samples, while the Quality Assurance Unit was responsible for the quality assurance/quality control programme. Furthermore, she said that the vitamin and additive lab analyzed vitamins, minerals, preservatives, non-nutritive sweeteners, caffeine and fortification elements in foods, while the water lab analyzed packaged water samples and carried out investigations on both registered and unregistered samples.
Mrs Adebiyi did not end her presentation without reeling out the achievements of the NAFDAC, which included its listing as African Centre of Excellence by the IAEA, regular analysis of samples and timely release of results, sustained accreditation, and successful participation in international proficiency tests. The agency, she revealed, was seeking ISO 17025:2017 accreditation of all the scopes of testing in the laboratory and wished to be a Reference Laboratory for the West African sub-region.