Nigeria bans codeine cough syrups over addiction fears
ABUJA – Agence France-Presse
Nigeria has banned cough syrups containing the painkiller codeine because of concern about misuse and addiction, the government said.
Health Minister Isaac Adewole said the ban was introduced because of “the gross abuse codeine usage has been subjected to in the country.”
The announcement late on May 1 followed a BBC investigation into the illicit sale of the medicine to young people and the dangers of addiction.
But Adewole said in a statement the new measures were the result of recommendations by a working committee set up in January to look into the misuse of prescription drugs.
The ban applies to all “sales of codeine containing cough syrup without prescription across the country,” he said.
No new import permits for codeine as an ingredient for cough syrups will be issued, and new applications for and renewals of licenses of syrups containing it have been scrapped, he said.
“Codeine-containing cough syrups should be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive,” Adewole said in the directive.
He also ordered government agencies to increase vigilance around abuse of other medication such as tramadol, a powerful pain killer popular with jihadists such as Boko Haram.