…How She Earned Her Place in Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Train

The decision to reappoint Professor Moji Adeyeye as the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of National Agency for Food and Drug Administation and Control (NAFDAC) must have been a fairly easy one for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Not only did the Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutics and Drug Product Evaluation bring one of the tallest  professional credentials and  experience to NAFDAC, she used same to turn the fortunes of the agency around during the almost six years she had spent as its Chief Executive Officer before Tinubu became President.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari who appointed Prof  Adeyeye into that office in 2017, acknowledged her sterling contributions when he reappoined her for another term of five years effective December 2022. Similar favourable assessment must have informed Tinubu’s decision to retain her.

Adeyeye’s reappointment was contained in a statement by the Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale in which he announced the new Board Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of agencies under the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Ngelale said the appointments reflected Tunubu’s determination to bring world-class standards to Nigerian public health administration and to manifest his commitment to deliver affordable and quality care to all Nigerians under governance and regulatory frameworks commensurate with international best practice.

That is what Prof. Adeyeye has been doing since becoming NAFDAC Chief Executive Officer in 2017. She introduced strong governance structure, regulatory system strengthening, and strengthening of the local pharmaceutical companies through international best practices with emphasis on local manufacturing. She has brought NAFDAC from insolvency to solvency and refocused it to be Standard Operating Procedure-driven organization that has embraced international standards and best practices.

 She changed the culture of NAFDAC to Customer-focused and Agency-minded establishment in order to safeguard the health of the nation. All these have resulted in the attainment of ISO 9001-2015 in 2019, yearly re-certification, and WHO Maturity Level 3 (ISO 9004) in 2022, a recognition as a well-functioning agency.  Resulting from these is the gradual strengthening of the pharmaceutical industry as exemplified in the recent WHO prequalification of a pediatric product of a local manufacturer, the first in West and Central Africa. The paradigm shift for access to medicines included the introduction of innovative reforms such as the 5+5 policy, the expansion of NAFDAC’s ceiling list to 34 products (aimed at increasing access to quality medicine through local manufacturing), new policy on establishment of Pharmaceutical Plants in Nigeria, the centralized GMP inspection for Pharma plants and Good Distribution Practice (GDP) inspection.

The current transformative leadership of NAFDAC is manifesting in the strengthening of grassroot pharmacovigilance or post-marketing safety monitoring, expansion of risk-based post marketing surveillance, introduction of Dossier Management System (an online solution that streamlines the dossier), leading in Africa the development and use of Traceability Information System – a GS1-driven technology – to give COVID-19 vaccines and ATM commodities’ supply chain visibility and mitigate substandard and falsified medicines, as part of restructuring toward ML4 and WLA status.

Prof Adeyeye is leading the NAFDAC in strengthening of the Food industry through emphasis on Food Safety, evidence-based Chemicals and Pesticides Management.  She inaugurated Nigerian Herbal Medicine Product Committee (HMPC) as a means of fostering research involving herbal practitioners and academic researchers while the intellectual property is protected. The ultimate goal is to turn complementary alternative medicines into a research-driven, regulation controlled commercially viable commodities.

Outside NAFDAC, Professor Adeyeye has contributed and is still contributing her professional skills towards the advancement of society. She is the past Chair of the Steering Committee of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) and the WHO-based Global Pediatric Regulatory Network. She represents NAFDAC on the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) and has been invited to be on the WHO Regional Expert Advisory Committee on Traditional Medicine for COVID-19.  

She is a Fellow of Nigeria Academy of Science, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, and Academic Research Fellow of American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). She is the First African Woman Fellow, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) a society where only three percent of academia receives such recognition internationally.

Adeyeye is Professor Emeritus of Pharmaceutics and Drug Product Evaluation at the College of Pharmacy, Roosevelt University in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.  She was the founding Chair of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the same University in Illinois. She was Professor of Pharmaceutics and Manufacturing for 21 years at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.   She is a Senior Fulbright Scholar and Specialist. She earned her B.Sc from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria and M.Sc and PhD from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. H