The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has insisted that it is yet to approve any herbal medicine for the treatment of COVID-19.
The Director of Public Affairs of the agency, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, in an interview with our correspondent, said a drug could only be certified for use after going through clinical trials.
He said, “There is a procedure for everything, we are talking about human lives here, people cannot just put together concoction and expect people to consume it just like that. So far the herbal mixture will be for public consumption due diligence must be followed.
“Science is one, it does not tell lies; even if the son of the NAFDAC DG brings herbal product and the laboratory has failed it, we cannot go ahead and register it. Forget about sentiment, NAFDAC doesn’t have anything to gain by not registering herbal products. Is it not to our pride if register and certify products for consumption?
“The major problem in the herbal medicine industry is that, until recently, most of them are illiterate. They do not understand the language of science, what we are trying to do is to teach them how they can pass on this knowledge by connecting them with the academics who understand the language of science. But it is unfortunate that the illiterate person is always suspicious of the educated person, thinking he will steal his inventions.”
The NAFDAC DG, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, in a statement, titled, ‘Approval for listing status by national agency for food and drug administration and control,’ said the agency was processing twenty one herbal medicinal products for “Safe to use” or Listing status.
“Many of the applicants claim that their products are immune boosters and anti-infectives useful for relief of symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19. However, no clinical study has been done yet on any of the products to prove their claim of efficacy.
“Once the product is able to meet all requirements, a listing status is granted with a clear DISCLAIMER that states clearly that claims have not been evaluated by NAFDAC. The applicant can arrange for clinical trials that will involve the use of human subjects in order to prove efficacy or claim for treatment following laid down procedures and with the approval of NAFDAC,” Adeyeye said.
A naturopath, Prof. Idowu Ogunkoya, in an interview with our correspondent said it was wrong for any herbal drug manufacturer to claim to have a cure for COVID-19 at the moment.
He said, “Nobody can claim to cure COVID-19 at the moment, what they can lay claim to is managing the symptoms. Which clinical trial have they done? It is too early for any herbal medicine producer to claim to have found a cure for coronavirus? If they claim that they have drugs that can manage the symptoms, it is acceptable.”