African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)

African drug, food regulatory agencies mull single database

African Drug and Food Regulatory Agencies are in Abuja brainstorming on how to have a single database of information on drug and food regulations in Africa.

The event started on Monday and was organised by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in collaboration with the Nigeria National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

The discussion, which focuses on the regulations of COVID-19 vaccines and other health issues in Africa, aims to ensure the ‘Smart, Safety and Surveillance’ (AU-3S) of all the regulated products.

NAFDAC director-general Moji Adeyeye disclosed that AU-3S had become a mini umbrella the agency would be relying upon for information sharing of each country.

She said it was not only monitoring the safety of food and drugs, but NAFDAC was also monitoring the distribution of the products.

Ms Adeyeye stated that the agency had already started sharing information between each African country with anti-retroviral, anti-tuberculosis and anti-malaria, adding that NAFDAC work was already set up in AU-3S.

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“COVID-19 vaccine is a pilot. We are going to be monitoring other products, essential medicine, in particular, that is, the relevance of AU-3S in Nigeria. We are linking our activities in tackling substandard, falsified medicine to what AU-3S is doing, safety and quality efficacy,” explained the NAFDAC boss. “In Nigeria, we are putting together a mechanism to control the quality of medicines in particular.”

She added that NAFDAC was using traceability in ‘Global Standard’ one (GS1) in driving technology and using it as part of safety monitoring in Nigeria.

She added that once the medicine got to the national cold store of the primary healthcare agency, the agency always did the commissioning and the scanning of all vaccines that entered Nigeria.

“Once we finished the scanning, the primary healthcare agency takes over and distributes to the national and sub-national, which includes states, local government healthcare facilities,” she noted. “We do this successfully in Nigeria; we use the template that we got in our database, traceability information system to do our monitoring and regulations.”

June Raine, the UK Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) CEO, stated that the initiative would bring about effective regulation and support for technical expertise.

According to her, vaccine safety and protection is a global initiative, and that AU-3S will help with how resources are deployed in different countries.