Determined to solve Nigeria’s persistent counterfeit drug problem, the government restructured NAFDAC’s management and reorganized the agency in 2001. New directorates were created for registration and regulatory affairs, laboratory services, narcotics and controlled substances, planning research and statistics, administration and finance, ports inspection, establishment, and enforcement. New inspectorate offices were opened in all 36 states, including Abuja, and three special inspectorate offices, six zonal offices, and three narcotic offices were introduced. Since then, the agency has focused largely on enforcement, including imports and exports, standards specifications, product registration, and guidelines and relevant data. The agency has also reviewed existing laws and procedures to ensure that they are in line with global trends. These measures have increased seizures and destruction of counterfeit drugs, raised community awareness, and improved regulatory transparency .
Key program components include:
• Public enlightenment campaign. NAFDAC runs a far-reaching public awareness campaign to inform the public of the dangers of counterfeit drugs and provide guidelines on consumer safety. Public announcements run on radio stations (in English and other regional languages), and plans are under way to start a television and radio weekly discussion program. The agency also publishes a biannual newsmagazine and consumer safety bulletin and organizes regular public awareness workshops that focus on different stakeholders (such as water producers, proprietary medicine dealers associations, and the like).
• Effective quality assurance system. NAFDAC has launched an effective quality assurance initiative that engages all major stakeholders in ensuring that good manufacturing practices are observed and that pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities comply with established quality standards. All inspection and licensing are based on good manufacturing practices issued by the World Health Organization. In addition, NAFDAC inspects all overseas manufacturing and quality control facilities prior to granting marketing and importation authorization. NAFDAC also periodically publishes a list of blacklisted companies, both local and international, that do not comply with good manufacturing practices.
• Inspection directorates. NAFDAC has an enforcement directorate and a ports inspection directorate tasked with tracking counterfeit products; controlling and regulating the importation of food, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices; inspecting all regulated products at the point of entry; and compiling guidelines and issuing quality certificates.
• Improved working environment. NAFDAC has improved the welfare of its staff by providing a more conducive working environment (such as generators, computers, air conditioners, and the like), introducing car refurbishing loans, and harmonizing the banking system for its staff.