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COVID-19: FG to pay N78.2m to Madagascar for herbal remedy

The Republic of Madagascar has asked Nigeria to pay N78.2million for the quantity of its COVID-19 cure drugs sent to the Federal Government.

However, the quantity of the COVID-19 herbal remedy dispatched to Nigeria via Guinea Bissau is yet to be ascertained.

Guinea Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Saturday; brought the drugs allocated to Nigeria by Madagascar.

President Buhari said Nigeria would take the drug through intensive tests to determine its suitability.

A source revealed: “For our consignments in Guinea Bissau, Madagascar has asked Nigeria to pay over €170,000 (N78, 200,000). We have received the invoice because the African country has made us realise that the drugs are not being given out free.

“We are being asked to pay for the drugs yet to be validated. Since the AU directed the supply of the drugs to African countries; we may have no choice but to pay for it.

“This payment may, however, be one-off because mass importation of the drugs from Madagascar will not be cost-effective. By the time we take into account the cost of freight, the amount will be too high.

“This is why we are looking at local options available to us as a nation.”

The source further stated that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 is considering a mandate to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD); to hasten the validation of local drugs for COVID-19.

The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said many researchers and practitioners have responded to its call for expression of interest for the COVID-19 related medicines.

In a statement on NAFDAC website, Adeyeye said: “The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC); as at the time of this press release, has only received an application from one company for a product the company is presenting (for approval) to the Agency; for the treatment of the symptoms of COVID-19, and not for the cure of COVID-19 as a disease.

“As the body with the mandate to regulate the conduct of clinical trials in the country; NAFDAC is committed to encouraging and supporting sponsors with appropriate guidance; to expedite the development of effective interventions to treat or prevent COVID-19.”

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