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UI Collaborates with Reckitt Benckiser to Organize International Conference on Regulation of Medicinal Products Claims

Towards achieving a health care system with proper regulation of medicinal products claims, the Center for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP) University of Ibadan, Nigeria in conjunction with Reckitt-Benckiser organized a three-day international conference tagged ‘Medicine Regulation of Claims: From Concept to Launch”. The conference which held from Wednesday, 2 to Friday, 4 October, 2013 at the University of Ibadan was described by the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhii in his keynote address as a historic and remarkable event. Dr. Orhii said that NAFDAC as a regulatory agency plays a critical role in the development of the pharmaceutical industry, there is the need for the agency to partner with the academia in Nigeria to ensure the production of medicines that can cure various diseases.

While responding to questions from the participants in a three-hour interaction with them, Dr. Orhii stated that drug counterfeiting is a major challenge facing NAFDAC, hence the creation of the pharmacovigillance and post market surveillance as strategies for ensuring sustainability of of quality drugs in Nigeria. Dr. Paul Orhii also signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Ibadan and NAFDAC. In addition, Dr. Orhiii officially received a proposal by the CDDDP to partner with NAFDAC on Bioavailability and Bioequivalence (BA/BE) studies.

In her opening address, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Principal Investigator CDDDP, Professor Chinedum Peace Babalola noted the significant contributions of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan to the development of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria in the last thirty years when the Faculty was established. She said that one of the objectives of the centre is to bridge the gaps between the industry and the regulatory body as well as the academia and the society in order to ensure an improvement in regulation and circulation of medicines to meet the needs of the society.

The Co-Principal investigator, Professor Itiola noted that the conference marks the commencement of a continuous cooperation between CDDDP and Reckitt-Benckiser which is crucial to industrial drug development and production. Professor Itiola added that the collaboration would lead to an improved level of research in the university and the industry, which will consequently translate into the development of new drugs.

The Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser (West Africa) Mr. Rahul Murghai stated that the company is glad to partner with CDDDP in order to improve the relationship between the academia and the industry. Mr. Murghai mentioned that apart from engaging in the production of drugs that are capable of enhancing good health, Reckit Benckiser is also involved in some health programmes which include; educating mothers on hygiene, teaching healthy habits to school children and helping with disaster relief programmes in collaboration with non-governmental organizations. The Regional Director, Regulatory Affairs and Medical Services, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and West Asia (NAMET-AFRICA) at Reckitt Benckiser, Dr. Soufia Hanna gave an overview of the Regulatory Trends of Medicines in the Middle East and Africa. The Director of Regulatory and Medical Affairs, Reckitt Benkiser (Europe), Mr. Aomesh Bhatt was also present at the event.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac F. Adewole who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Arinola Sanya stated that as a leading African institution, UI has the capacity to effectively engage in cutting-edge research. He noted that the university has received several grant awards directed toward research and one of such awards was utilized in establishing the Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production. He commended the centre for bringing together experts and other relevant stakeholders from across the globe to deliberate on the theme of the conference.

Facilitators at the event included Professor O. Ogunniyi from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan who gave a talk on “Ethical Issues in Medicine Promotion” while Pharmacist (Mrs.) Bukky Iyanda delivered a lecture on “A Comparison Between Community Pharmacy Practice in the United Kingdom and Nigeria” and another one on “The Standards Guiding the Roles of Pharmacists and other Pharmacy Professionals in the United Kingdom”. The conference highlighted the roles of the academia in medicinal product claims regulation and how it can help investigate claims made by pharmaceutical industries on their products with a view to strengthening the relationship between the industry and the regulatory agencies. Stakeholders in the drug production and regulatory authorities, pharmaceutical companies, community pharmacies, academia as well as medical and health professionals attended the conference.