The National Union of Chemical Footwear Rubber Leather and Non-Metallic Products Employees (NUCFRLANMPE), has warned that over 23,000 workers would lose their jobs due to the recent blanket ban on codeine by the Federal Government.
Specifically, the union said many big pharmaceutical companies would be forced to close shop, and this can cause over 23,000 workers to lose their jobs.
Instead of the blanket ban, the union advised the government to find a way of controlling the use of codeine, as done in the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom.
The President of NUCFRLANMPE, Comrade Babatunde Olatunji, said “Codeine is an analgesic with uses similar to those of morphine, but it is much less potent as an analgesic and has only mild sedative effects. It is also used in the treatment of cough, diarrhoea as well as other chronic conditions such as arthritis and migraine.
“It is obvious that some criminality minded people are using this product as addictive substances as done all over the world, including advanced countries like US and UK, but codeine is also an important raw material in the production of pain relieving and cough suppressant drugs.”
He called on the government to adopt a system in which prescription of the drugs will be strictly adhered to so as to prevent closure of many pharmaceutical companies in the country and the attendant job losses.
According to him, “if the blanket ban continues, many big pharmaceutical companies will close shop, while those do not close will have to scale down their operations. This can lead to downsizing and many of the workers will be thrown back into the labour market. This defeats one of the cardinal policies of job creation and job security of the President Muhammad Buhari’s adminisration.
“The Government should strengthen our health agencies, such as the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC); the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and other related agencies to ensure strict adherence to prescription of the drugs before being sold or administer to any person.