Prof. Moji Adeyeye, DG NAFDAC

NAFDAC Joins WHO Prequalification Status Exclusive Club

Nigeria took a significant stride toward achieving Universal Health Coverage (UCH) as the Central Drug Control Laboratory (CDCL) in Yaba, Lagos received the World Health Organization (WHO) prequalification status, it was revealed on Thursday.

The certification, conveyed to the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) via email from the WHO Prequalification Inspection team on September 15, 2023, provided global recognition and affirmed the Yaba laboratory’s compliance with international standards for drugs originating from Nigeria for export.

Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general of NAFDAC, who described the accomplishment as a significant milestone at a press briefing in Abuja, could not hide her elation as she declared: “This is not only a triumph for the agency, but also for Nigeria. Very few laboratories in the world have the apex status of WHO prequalification.”

Currently, only approximately seven countries in Africa can claim to have the WHO prequalification for the CDCL.

While emphasizing the extensive efforts involved in achieving the milestone, the DG said: “The WHO Prequalification of the CDCL is a testament to NAFDAC’s unwavering commitment to meeting international standards of excellence in drug quality control and regulation.

“Our journey towards this milestone actually started since 2010, but with renewed efforts and more commitment to attempts by our management and Federal Government in the last four years, we have finally achieved this goal”.

According to her, the implications of the certification were numerous which was a testimony to the commitment of the Nigerian government to the wellbeing of Nigerians.

She said: “This prestigious recognition brings numerous benefits to CDCL, NAFDAC, and, most importantly, to the Nigerian people.

“Key benefits of the WHO Prequalification of NAFDAC CDCL include Global Recognition. WHO Prequalification Status is a globally recognized badge of honor that attests to the CDCL’s competence in assuring the quality of pharmaceutical products.

“It places CDCL among an elite group of laboratories worldwide known for their excellence in drug analysis.

“Enhanced Pharmaceutical Quality is guaranteed. The pre-qualification of CDCL ensures that the quality, safety, and efficacy of medicines tested and certified by the laboratory meet the highest international standards.

“This directly translates to improved access to safe and effective medicines for the Nigerian populace.

“CDCL’s new status opens doors to international collaboration with regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and global health organizations.

“This collaboration will strengthen Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector and contribute to advancing healthcare access in the region. Advancing Public Health:

“The CDCL plays a pivotal role in safeguarding public health by ensuring that substandard and counterfeit medicines do not reach the market.

“With WHO Prequalification, its impact in this regard will be even more profound, protecting Nigerian patients from potentially harmful products. Streamlined Regulatory Processes: WHO Prequalification can lead to streamlined regulatory processes, facilitating the faster approval of essential medicines in Nigeria and beyond.

“Enhanced credibility which this brings is no mean feat. This prestigious status enhances NAFDAC’s credibility on the global stage and reinforces the trust of stakeholders, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, healthcare providers, and patients. Advancing Nigeria’s Healthcare System:

“The recognition of the NAFDAC CDCL by WHO is a significant milestone in strengthening Nigeria’s healthcare system, ensuring that Nigerians have access to high-quality healthcare products”.

The DG said, for NAFDAC as a regulator, the WHO certification further enhanced its pedigree as it worked towards Maturity Level 4, to become a world-listed authority.

“We are excited about the possibilities that this recognition brings and look forward to continuing our work to uphold the highest standards of pharmaceutical quality control and regulation.

“NAFDAC remains committed to its mission of safeguarding public health by ensuring that only safe, effective, and quality medicines and healthcare products are available to all Nigerians.

“We look forward to leveraging this achievement to strengthen our partnerships, enhance healthcare access, and contribute to the overall improvement of public health in Nigeria and the West African region”, she noted.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the agency’s Governing Council, Mufutau Bolaji Yahaya, who pledged further support to the agency assured that the council would continue to work on the commitment of the government as the agency worked towards achieving the same feat for its other 6 laboratories while targeting ML 4.