Baba Aisha: NAFDAC launches probe after DUBAWA’s investigation

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has reacted to an investigation by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES on a popular herbal product, Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine.

The investigation, published on Saturday, June 10, shed light on the content, safety and regulatory framework guiding the production and sale of the herbal product consumed by many Nigerians.

After a five-month-long probe, PREMIUM TIMES found that the product carries two invalid NAFDAC registration numbers and is a huge safety risk to users.

Extensive laboratory analysis also indicates that continuous consumption of the concoction could lead to acute kidney, lung, and liver injuries.

The investigation placed NAFDAC in the spotlight as public members questioned how the producer got his initial registration done without meeting basic requirements, among other infractions.

NAFDAC launches investigation

In an official response to PREMIUM TIMES today, NAFDAC said it has immediately commenced an investigation into the findings by the online newspaper.

The commission noted that its Investigation and Enforcement Directorate (I&E) had commenced actions on Baba Aisha’s Herbal medicine and other products with expired licenses.

“The report on ‘Baba Aisha Herbal preparation’ is a new case. The I&E has commenced an investigation into the case. Preliminary findings revealed that NAFDAC registered the product, but the registration license has long expired. The company has yet to initiate any process for renewal of its product license at the time of this report.

“Enforcement actions have commenced immediately for any of these products with expired licenses still in circulation for public consumption,” the letter sent to this newspaper reads in part.

NAFDAC promised to update Premium Times on its findings.

The commission also revealed that it recently investigated another product by Baba Aisha’s Sacra Multi-Links Limited.

“The Investigation and Enforcement Directorate (I&E) had worked on another product by Baba Aisha Herbal Medicines – Hajia Ayisha special snuff AK 47 in April 2023.”

The commission did not provide further details on the product and findings from its investigation.

Unanswered questions

NAFDAC’s attempt to follow up on the investigation still leaves several questions begging for answers.

For instance, the commission failed to explain the shady process of registering the herbal product in 2018.

Our investigation revealed that Sacra Multi-links Limited did not fulfil the basic requirements to qualify for NAFDAC registration, yet it was registered. These basic requirements include registration of the business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), registration with the Trademark Registry, and submission of an assessment report from a quality control laboratory.

During the investigation, the journalist requested the documents from NAFDAC, but the commission failed to provide any.

Also, the commission failed to confirm whether it approved the advertisement used to sell the product.

According to NAFDAC’s Herbal Medicine and Related Products Advertisement Regulations gazetted in 2021, the advert should be approved by the agency before use.

The regulation states that such an advert shall not state or imply that any herbal medicine is ‘safe’ or has ‘guaranteed efficacy or special status.’

It noted further that such an advert should not contain false or misleading information, vague, unsubstantiated statements, suggestions of superiority over other products, or any claim of a universal cure.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have called on NAFDAC to take decisive action on the herbal product, including imposing an immediate ban on the product.

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