The #BBCAfricaEye’s documentary Sweet Sweet Codeine is causing ripples in pharmaceutical companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of cough syrups with codeine in the country.
In the documentary, an investigative series, BBC journalists went undercover to reveal how the addictive cough syrup is being sneaked out of pharmaceutical companies into the black market.
Senior figures in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry who help in smuggling their products into the hands of drug dealers, who sell the dangerously addictive, sweet tasting opioid, are being exposed.
Some of them are from top pharma firms – Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Bioraj Pharmaceuticals and Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals.
One of them is Mr Hussan, aka Baba Ibeji, from Bioraj. “He also sold syrup to our journalists, believing they were syrup dealers,”, BBC reported.
In a swift reaction, Bioraj, in a statement made available to journalists, said Mr Hassan was suspended in May 2016 and finally disengaged in August the same year. The company has also suspended the sales of its cough syrup, Biolin with codeine.
Below is a statement by the company.
Another staff caught is a sales rep at Emzor. According to the BBC, “he illegally sold us 60 bottles of codeine syrup “fresh from the oven.”
Emzor has since fired him and also stopped distribution of its own cough syrup with codeine, Emzolyn.
Below is a statement from Emzor:
In response to the revelations, the Federal Goverrnment has also banned the distribution of all cough syrups with codeine in the country.