The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) says it received the news that the Buhari administration is about to import a herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO) from Madagascar with utter disbelief.
Sam Ohuabunwa, PSN President, in a statement on Tuesday, declared that Nigeria displayed that it has no shame.
Noting that the body was not against any drug that is proven to cure COVID-19 or any other disease, but is totally appalled that Nigeria is about to spend its scarce foreign exchange.
“Even if we are not going to pay for this, 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”, Ohuabunwa noted.
He pointed out that 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.
Ohuabunwa insisted 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.
He added that Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines.
According to him, since the outbreak of the COVID-19, 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.
Ohuabunwa observed that many herbal companies and producers have announced specifically that they have formulations that can become the ‘invention’ from Madagascar.
“We 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 recommended that a portion of the nearly N25bilion donated/allocated for COVID-19 should be dedicated to local research and development.
“But our 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?
“We urge our Government to save Nigerian Pharmaceutical Scientists and other scientists from the shame of having our country import and try herbal remedies which God has given us in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages.
“Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy. Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies, and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems”, Ohuabunwa added.