Chinyere Anyanwu

Following the recent closure of three pharmaceutical companies by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), corporate organisations have been tasked on the need to institute standard Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) departments in their companies to carry out regular CSR audits by a certified external CSR auditor.

The President of International Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (IN-CSR), Mr. Eustace Onuegbu, made the submission at the weekend in Lagos, while reacting to the closure of the three pharmaceutical companies, including Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Limited, Bioraj Pharmaceutical Limited and Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited, owing to allegations of refusal to abide by regulations on the distribution of certain medications.

Onuegbu, who is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC), Nigeria, and a Social Responsibility Lead Implementer/Auditor, stated that, “there are two key issues in this matter, which include making safe products and not to be complicit in your operations and business relationships.”

According to Onuegbu, “the International Organisation for Standardisation’s Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, ISO 26000, published in 2010, defines social responsibility as ‘the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society,” among others.

Related News

He noted that, “Emzor Pharmaceutical Ind. Ltd has come up with this ill-conceived public notice,” which he said, “indicates that Emzor, like many other organisations in Nigeria, does not have a sustainability CSR team in place and may not have conducted a CSR audit in the past. CSR audits are aimed at mitigating such reputational and financial risks.”

“These organisations still understand CSR to mean Corporate Philanthropy (CP), which is simply giving back part of their profit to society. A simple inexpensive annual CSR audit by a certified external auditor would have helped these organisations avoid this reputational damage and the associated financial loss.”

He said, “I hope other organisations, including the ones on the panel of investigation as was reported by Channels TV, will learn. I can authoritatively confirm that they as well do not conduct CSR audits and when queried, they will ask if it is a legal requirement.”

A documentary by BBC recently exposed the addiction of some Nigerians, mostly youths, to codeine and reported the complicity of some pharmaceutical companies.