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NAFDAC slams former INEC boss, Iwu, over claims on covid-19 drug

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Former INEC chairman, Iwu, traces EFCC ordeal to 2019 presidential election

Two herbal formulations were approved for clinical trial investigations for the treatment of COVID-19 during the pandemic, according to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Sunday.

The agency slammed the media claims attributed to the Chief Executive Officer of Bioresources Development and Conservative Programme, Prof Maurice Iwu, claiming the efficacy of IHP Detox Tea for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Prof Iwu is a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday and signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, that only NAFDAC could make declarations on the quality, safety, and efficacy of all regulated items with sufficient scientific evidence.

The statement read in part, “The agency frowned at the media reports ostensibly circulated at the instance of the promoters of IHP Detox Tea which claimed that the herbal medicine was the only product approved by the agency for the treatment of COVID-19.

“In a letter to the Chief Executive officer of Bioresources Development and Conservative Programme, Prof Maurice Iwu, by the regulatory body, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye said NAFDAC is the only authorised agency by law that is allowed to make any pronouncement on safety and efficacy of all regulated products with satisfactory scientific evidence.”

The NAFDAC boss explained that “three herbal formulations were approved for clinical trial studies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While two studies have commenced, including the IHP Detox Tea, the third clinical trial study is yet to start. The IHP Detox Tea clinical trial study at Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, approved for Prof Iwu’s company was only a pilot study, (that is still ongoing), with a small sample size that is inadequate to make pronouncement on safety and efficacy of the product.”

Read also: Why ABUAD herbal Drug is not approved for COVID-19 treatment —NAFDAC

She argued that only a NAFDAC-approved Phase 3 clinical research with a sufficient sample size could be utilized to establish efficacy claims after regulatory clearance of the study’s results.

Adeyeye further stated that the WHO team and other well-intentioned researchers have found the IHP Detox Tea’s efficacy claim to be misleading, and that the agency is responsible for providing supervision and preventing such erroneous information on authorized items in the country.

Iwu admitted in his statement that NAFDAC is the sole approved agency by law that can make any pronouncement on the quality, safety, and efficacy of all regulated items if it has sufficient proof.

However, he urged the newspapers that published the information to correct the error.

Iwu wrote to the Director-General of NAFDAC on May 17, 2022, pointing out that the content of the publication looked to be an opinion of the journalist who wrote the story, and he cautioned the newspaper to correct the aforementioned disinformation capable of misleading members of the public.

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