Nigeria Should Avoid Madagascar’s COVID-19 Drug’
- PSN insists that Nigeria should try our drugs first.
MEDICAL experts in the country, including pharmacists, nurses and laboratory scientists, have opposed the plan by the Federal Government to import a herbal tonic, COVID-Organics (CVO), from Madagascar for the treatment of coronavirus patients in Nigeria.
Pharmacists under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and other health workers under the umbrella of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) provided reasonsNigeria should not import the herbal tonic from Madagascar.
JOHESU is the umbrella body of all health workers in Nigeria, excluding medical doctors.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Monday during the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, said Nigeria was expected to receive samples of COVID-Organics, the herbal medicine used by Madagascar to treat COVID-19 patients.
Nigeria has some of the best scientists (pharmaceutical, medical, biochemical, biological, among others) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines.
•Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna–potent sources of phytomedicines.
Ohuabunwa said: “The PSN has received the news that the Federal Government of Nigeria is about to import a herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO) from Madagascar with utter disbelief. While in principle we would not mind Nigerian government importing any new drug that is proven to cure COVID-19 or indeed any other disease for which we have neither the capacity, nor the technology to produce locally, we are totally appalled that Nigeria is about to spend scarce foreign exchange to ‘import coal into Newcastle’. Even if we are not going to pay for this, it is thoroughly disgraceful that a country that should be the leader of Africa, with the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will allow itself to be dragged this low.”
The PSN boss recalled that pharmacists had raised their voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims by local experts and help put their inventions through clinical evaluation, as most of them could not afford to conduct clinical trials.
According to him, pharmacists have recommended that a portion of the nearly N25 billion donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development, but the government has remained essentially silent, only waiting to participate in the World Health Organisation (WHO)-sponsored or mandated trials.
“We have been told that Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial, but nothing on trying our own inventions and formulations.”
Ohuabunwa added: “Now
We urge our government to save Nigerian pharmaceutical scientists and other scientists from the shame of having our country import and try herbal remedies which God has given us in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages. Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy. Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems. There is much talk but little action.