Hours after #BBCAfricaEye’s documentary Sweet Sweet Codeine aired, Emzor pharmaceuticals announced the suspension of the distribution of Emzolyn with codeine.
The documentary, an investigative series, exposes how young people in the country are drinking and being sold huge quantities of codeine cough syrup, an extremely addictive drug.
In a tweet on Monday, the company said the medicine’s distribution will remain suspended “pending the results of a full and thorough internal investigation.
“The distribution of Emzolyn with Codeine has been suspended pending the results of a full and thorough internal investigation.”
The documentary is a co-production between Africa Eye and BBC Pidgin. It focuses on the cough syrup industry.
BBC went undercover to reveal how the addictive cough syrup is being sneaked out of pharmaceutical companies into the black market.
In the series, Africa Eye will expose 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 for the price of a bottle of cola.
According to a recent report three million bottles of the codeine syrup are drunk every day in the northern part of the country.
In the words of Adejuwon Soyinka, Editor of the BBC Pidgin who went undercover, “it’s shocking what we found and how much of an epidemic cough syrup abuse has become in Nigeria. Equally shocking is the sheer size of criminal network involved in the illicit trade.”
“Africa Eye will promote the culture of investigative journalism across Africa and strengthen the skills of African investigative journalists,” Nisha Kapur, Commissioning Editor for TV said.
“All of the programmes will be based on in-depth reporting that holds power to account. They will tackle topics that are of intense interest and concern to audiences in Africa. These reports will be produced in a fresh and contemporary style that resonates with young audiences.”