On Monday the 30th of April 2018, BBC Africa Eye broadcast a documentary on the abuse of codeine in Nigeria and one of our products, Emzolyn with Codeine syrup was featured. The abuse of prescription drugs including codeine is a growing problem globally as well as right here in Nigeria and we were hopeful that the documentary would provide a comprehensive overview on the many factors contributing to this issue.
We were dismayed by the implied comments made during the programme in an effort to link Emzor Pharmaceuticals with directly supplying the black market. The member of staff depicted in the piece was acting independently and by his own admission knew his actions were contrary to company policy and the controlled drug regulations. He has since been dismissed and reported to the police for prosecution.
The documentary completely ignored the contribution of the rampant illegal importation and smuggling of these drugs into the country to fuelling the supply of illegal codeine onto the black market.We wish to clearly state the following facts:
Emzor is treating the findings of the BBC documentary with the utmost seriousness and has launched a full and through investigation into its current processes.
Emzor Pharmaceuticals is a responsible and ethical company with over 120 product lines, all under licence from NAFDAC and we adhere fully to the documentation guidelines for the handling, production, storing and distribution of products containing codeine.
- We have stopped the production and distribution of Emzolyn with Codeine, pending a thorough review.
- The Emzor Sales Rep depicted in the documentary is not a senior member of staff as was strongly implied during the programme, the title Business Development Executive is an entry level sales position. He is in no way a representative of the hardworking and law-abiding members of staff at Emzor. He did not transact the reported illegal sale on behalf of Emzor nor within our company premises and any representations made by him are in breach of company policy and ethics and were undertaken independently by him.
- Emzor is not involved in the direct sales to individual members of the public, neither do we sanction the supply of Emzolyn with Codeine in any way that breaches the Dangerous Drugs Act or NAFDAC guidelines.
- Our average daily production level is below 0.5% of the estimated daily amounts of codeine reportedly consumed in the two Northern States mentioned in the report. Furthermore, we do not supply Emzolyn with Codeine in the two Northern States mentioned in line with the directives of the respective State government.
- The dismissed Sales rep had access to limited quantities of Emzolyn with codeine for the purpose of onward distribution/supply to licensed retail pharmacies under his assigned sales territory. Also, the man referred to as Mr. Paschal of Stella Charles pharmacy is not an Emzor distributor as he claimed in the documentary.
- Emzor remains a socially responsible corporate citizen operating within the relevant rules and committed to conducting our operations in the most responsible and compliant way. Emzor has built a sterling reputation based on high professional standards and world class products for more than thirty years.
Those three decades of hard work have been rewarded by more than 50 local and international awards and most importantly, the trust of the Nigerian people. We hold this trust sacred and will continue to conduct our business in a manner that demonstrates ethical leadership within our industry and will not allow the tainting of this legacy in any manner.
Emzor believes in developing our youths. Through the Chike Okoli Foundation which was established in 2006 to promote healthy lifestyles and entrepreneurship, we have trained, influenced and touched the lives of more than 2 million youths, many of whom have graduated from the foundation’s Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies and are now running their own businesses.
Emzor will seek to make relevant and impactful contributions to the multi-agency discussions on the way forward that are sure to follow in the days and months ahead.
From the limited depiction of rehabilitation efforts represented in the BBC programme, there is room for much support and improvement in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons affected by addiction.
As an organization we will make efforts to learn more about the good work being done in this area and devise an effective means of contributing to this vital aspect of managing the problem and securing the National treasure that is our youth. We were pleased to find included in the just released statement from the FG the mention of plans to solicit the involvement of organizations with positive impact on youth culture such as the Nigerian Football Federation.
Emzor has been a proud sponsor of the Super Eagles as well as the male and female national football teams at all levels over the last four years and will continue to support the use of their influence in promoting positive behaviour and a strong sense of National pride in our youth.
We thank you for taking the time to hear us out and assure you of our earnest commitment to playing our part in the lasting solution to prescription drug abuse in Nigeria.