Officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are reported to have disrupted the unveiling of an anti-COVID-19 herbal syrup in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Thursday.
According to Channels Television, herbal medicine practitioner, Paul Oni, had planned to unveil the syrup at a briefing on Thursday at the Centenary Hall in the Ake axis of the state capital.
The programme was later reported to have been stopped by the NAFDAC officials who stormed the venue in company with some policemen and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Reports reveal that NAFDAC officials went on to inspect Oni’s factory and sealed it. Briefing reporters after the factory was sealed, Oni revealed his motives for the alleged unveiling as a reaction to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
He also lamented what he called outrageous approval levies by NAFDAC, saying he could not afford the outrageous cost of approval and clinical trials.
“The normal cost that you will incur in going through the NAFDAC process is about N600,000 which does not include the clinical trials of N1.5 million.
“So, when I saw the cost, I concluded that I should seek help through a press conference. I am sure this herb can help people that have contracted COVID-19,” he said.
According to the National Television, a NAFDAC official said the programme was halted because the product had not been certified scientifically.
He said, “The producer is a client. He knows the procedures having secured NAFDAC number for some of his products on two different occasions.
“But this product, in particular, has not passed through the NAFDAC processes. Besides, he did breach advertisement control policy by advertising the product.”
The herbal medicine practitioner denied bypassing the agency’s procedures, explaining that the programme was meant to seek partnership and support, as well as raise for a fund for the product to undergo the proper processes and certification.
He explained that he only produced a few quantities of the syrup to showcase to journalists and not in large quantity for sale.
Oni insisted that the herb was ‘anti-viral and anti-malignant’ and capable of curing COVID-19.
He alleged that all efforts to secure the support of the Minister of Health and other major stakeholders have not yielded positive results.
“Maybe through that, people will come to help me. NAFDAC will come to help me and give me a waiver; the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research will hear what I have said about them and they will come and assist me”, he said.
Oni revealed that he set up the press conference not for the purpose of sales, but to draw the attention of stakeholders such as NAFDAC and NCDC.
“I did not produce the Oxibiotics for sale. I just have a couple of bottles that I want to show NAFDAC and to the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research, as samples,” he stated.
Oni, however, said he remained undeterred by the action of the agency and promised to ensure that the product saw the light of the day.