Working on its mandate of eradicating the prevalence of illegal drugs, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has strengthened up to clampdown on illegal manufacturers and distributors of herbal preparations and other unregistered preparations. Alhaji Salisu Sani (also known as Baba Aisha), a herbal medicine practitioner, was arrested as part of the ongoing operation for illegally advertising and selling Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid and producing herbal medication without a valid registration license.
Director General of NAFDAC Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye in a briefing with journalists in Abuja, said the agency has begun a nationwide mop-up of the medicine, widely referred to as Baba Aisha, and implored Nigerians to stop using it. She said that while Sacra Herb’s license expired in 2019, it was approved for the treatment of pile and associated pains, the company had gone above and beyond its scope, prescribing the drugs for the treatment of waist pains, typhoid, ulcer, piles, and toilet infections. The agency has lately received allegations and concerns about the drug in response to an investigative investigation published by an online media group, she added.
Renewal for the product license was not approved.
Prof. Adeyeye further explained that in 2018, the company Sacra Multi-Links Ltd had submitted an application to the agency for the registration of Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid. The product’s registration with NAFDAC was made official on September 6, 2018, and it remained valid until September 12, 2019. The listing approval was granted in accordance with regulatory protocols, and for the drug to be used for the management of piles and associated pains. On August 12 2020, she said the company submitted an application to have its license renewed.
However, the company was given compliance directives after a regulatory examination found non-conformers in the production facility that needed fixing. She elaborated that the product registration license was not renewed since the company had not addressed the issues that had been raised. In response to the public outcry on social media about Sacra Multi Links’s illegal practices, NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate conducted surveillance, which was followed by the enforcement action that resulted in the factory’s sealing and the arrest of two employees who were complicit in the act.
Distributors of some other herbal drugs cracked down in the North.
On the following day, Alhaji Salisu Sani, Managing Director of Sacra Multi Links, drove to the I&E office in Kaduna, where a search of his car came up with an array of herbal products were found such as the Sacra Herbs Oral Liquid, as well as Baba Aisha Man Power and Delay and Cure Powder Kai Kadai Gayya, and two other unlicensed herbal medicines. The Managing Director’s personal stash and the stockpile of the company were both sent to the NAFDAC laboratory facility for analysis.
Likewise, Prof. Adeyeye disclosed that NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate had recently cracked down on distributors of some other herbal medications, acting upon an intelligence report received, which indicated that these herbal medicines were primarily marketed in the Northern part of the country. She noted that research showed the herbal snuff being sold in Nigeria was really produced in Ghana and had been licensed by the Ghanaian Food and Drug Authority (FDA) for use as an analgesic, but was being mislabeled and sold in Nigeria under the false pretense that it was snuff.
Severe health risks are linked to these herbal medications.
Further investigation indicated a worrying pattern of use of these toxic medicines containing pyridine by a large demographic of the population. It has the potential to be highly addictive and is linked to severe health risks. The NAFDAC Director General has stated that the agency’s recent successful investigations into Sacra Herbs (Baba Aisha), Hajiya Aisha special snuff AK 47, and other herbal medicines recur the fact that fighting the spread of fake and counterfeit drugs, as well as adulterated processed foods, is a fight that requires the concourse of every law-abiding citizen of Nigeria.