The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shut 16 herbal medicine facilities and seized products over illegal operations in Onitsha, Anambra.
The seizure was effected during a raid of illegal products facilities in Onitsha and neighbouring communities — Nkpor and Ogidi — by officials of the agency on Tuesday.
Dr. Christiana Esenwa, a Deputy Director and Coordinator of the agency, told newsmen that the agency had sanctioned no fewer than 100 practitioners from January 2015 till date.
Esenwa said that the affected companies were sanctioned for illegal manufacturing, sales, hawking and unapproved advertisements.
According to her, at a particular manufacturing facility, a lot of unregistered products were discovered.
“We had earlier sensitised the herbal medicine practitioners to the need to have their companies and products registered as well as avoid illegal advertisements of their products.
“Rather, they choose to ignore the warnings of the agency and have developed a habit of going back to business even after sanctioning them.”
She said that the agency was planning stiffer penalties against defaulters with an upward of the current N20,000 administrative charge, to deter illegal practitioners from operating without the agency’s approval.
“Before any company goes on air, such company must register their products, get certificate and advertisement permit.
“From what we saw during the raid, most of the products are unsafe for consumption and may pose health hazards to consumers since they have not been tested for purity and toxicity.
“We discovered at another facility that the manufacturing environment was not conducive and lacked minimum good manufacturing practice.”
According to her, the defaulters with manufacturing outfits will be enlightened on how best to manufacture products that are safe for consumption.
Esenwa, however, said the raid and seizures were not punitive or meant to chase practitioners out of business but to make them appreciate the importance of due process in their respective businesses. (NAN)