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We can produce COVID-19 cure – Nigerian pharmacists reject Madagascar’s remedy

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Nigerian pharmacists have kicked against the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to order for Madagascar’s herbal cure, POLITICS NIGERIA reports.

Madagascar appears to be on the victory side against the pandemic as 101 patients, out of the 186 confirmed cases of the disease, have recovered. Although the plant-based remedy is yet to be approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the East African country has continued its production to serve the populace.

Recall that Mr Buhari had ordered the presidential task force on COVID-19 to pick up Madagascar’s plant-based cure. The Secretary-General of the federation, Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the daily national briefing of the task force.

He announced that Madagascar donated some of the products to Nigeria through Guinea-Bissau and arrangements were being made to pick them up. According to him, the president directed that the products be subjected to validation process after they have been picked up.

Meanwhile, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) said it 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.

This was contained in a statement signed by its President, Pharm (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa.

“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’.

The group stated that, even if Nigeria is not paying for the cure, it is thoroughly disgraceful that a country that should be the leader of Africa, with the largest GDP will allow itself to be dragged this low.

According to Mr Ohuabunwa, Nigeria has about 174 Universities (43 Federal, 52 State and 79 private), 20 Faculties of Pharmacy and about 69 Federal-Funded Research Institutes (including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and the National Institute for Medical Research) while Madagascar has only 6 Universities, 1 Faculty of Pharmacy and 9 Research Centers.

“Nigeria has some of the best scientists (Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological etc.) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines. Nigeria has developed a pharmacopoeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines.”

He noted that a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19, adding that many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘invention’ from Madagascar can do.

“We have raised our voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims and help put them through clinical evaluation as most of these producers cannot afford to conduct clinical trials. We have recommended that a portion of the nearly 25 Billion Naira donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development.”

The President alleged that the government has remained essentially silent only waiting to participate in 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. Now we want to import COVID Organics. from Madagascar to try? Why are we like this?”

“If the world can supply us synthetic and chemically-sophisticated medicines which we apparently lack the technology to produce, why must we wait for the World to supply us herbal formulations which we can easily make and which we have similar products,” the statement read in parts.

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