The Federal Government has banned the production and importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough syrup preparations to check substance abuse among Nigerians.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the decision known in a statement issued by Mr Olajide Oshundun, Assistant Director of Information in the ministry, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ban the issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations.
He also directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and NAFDAC to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups nationwide.
Adewole said government had also banned the sale of codeine containing cough syrup without prescription.
He said the directive became necessary due to the gross abuse of codeine in the country.
In this regard, the minister said PCN had been directed to continue enforcement activities on pharmacies, patent and proprietary medicine vendors’ shops and outlets throughout the country.
He also directed NAFDAC to carry out its functions in compliance with the new directives.
The minister said cough syrups containing codeine should be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive.