The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned that unregulated and unregistered herbal medicines can cause serious health damages.
The South-East Director of NAFDAC, Mrs Olajumoke Ojetokun, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday.
Ojetokun noted that though herbal medicines were not bad, but advised that such drugs ought to be regulated and duly registered to ascertain the potency or otherwise of its contents.
She added that through regulation, the agency could also certify if ingredients were safe for human consumption especially for a period of time.
She also noted that the common claim by some herbal medicine dealers that a particular herbal medicine could cure all sickness was far from the truth.
“I am taken aback whenever I hear herbal medicine dealers claim that a particular herbal drug can cure all types of diseases which is not true.
“Herbal drug dealers capitalise on the psychology of Nigerians that one herbal medicine is capable of curing several diseases instead of having to buy various other drugs to cure each category of sickness.
“And because an average Nigerian sees this option as a way to cut cost, they opt for the herbal medicines not minding the implication of consuming the unregistered and unregulated herbal medicine,’’ she said.
However, Ojetokun said that ignorance and economic factors were responsible for the huge patronage of herbal medicines currently being witnessed across the country.
She also revealed that some herbal drug dealers were circumventing the certification process of products even when the procedures to register the herbal drugs had been simplified.
According to her, the circumvention of the certification processes by herbal medicine dealers is posing serious challenge to NAFDAC in terms of regulation and control.
“However, NAFDAC will not relent in her effort to curb the circulation and production of unregistered and unregulated herbal medicines as it has usually done.
“So, NAFDAC is appealing for the co-operation of all in its bid to rid the country of fake and unhealthy herbal drugs as unscrupulous individuals continue to devise new means of circulating these unwholesome products,’’ she said.