On April 29 2020, the Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, released a Press Statement on it’s official Facebook Page. The statement was “ABOUT CURE FOR COVID-19”, though the claim was really about the “TREATMENT” of COVID-19.

In that Press release, which we ran under the caption “Catholic Monks Discover ‘CVD PLUS’ for the Treatment of COVID-19“, we noted, among other things, that “Fr. Anslem expressed gratitude to the Head of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Professor Tunde Salako and the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye for interest, support and encouragement in the course of the research…”

Another interesting aspect of the Press release by Pax Herbals was that it recommended some of its already NAFDAC-approved drugs for the management of symptoms associated with COVID-19.

The swiftness with which NAFDAC responded with a DISCLAIMER on May 2, 2020, was nothing short of SUSPICIOUS. In its official statement, NAFDAC totally distanced itself from the research, and referred to Pax Herbal’s Press Release as an ADVERTORIAL. Perhaps the management at NAFDAC felt the Benedictine Monks were seizing the opportunity to ‘cash in’. To have insinuated this wasn’t just disappointing, it was unfortunate.

The Pax Herbal Press release had indeed made claims that the DG of NAFDAC and other experts had ‘personally’ sent experts to oversee their research. It was a claim that was expectedly denied by NAFDAC, since by its regulatory nature, NAFDAC cannot be seen (or heard) to have actually sent experts to oversee the development process of any herbal remedy. Whether or not they actually did send experts is a matter for another day. We did not however see such speedy disclaimers from other experts mentioned in the Pax Herbals Press release.

Nonetheless, I was rather sad to see another Press release by Pax Herbals, on May 2, 2020, cautioning the public not to misinterpret its earlier claims. One might argue that Pax Herbals had a moral obligation to do so, being that people needed to be carefully guided, as a result of the general hysteria in the wake of COVID-19. But that concurrent press release further cast aspersions on the earlier claims, seeming to unnecessarily bend towards NAFDAC’S disclaimer.

I do not want to go on and on about the progress Pax Herbal Clinic has recorded over the years. Nigerians home and abroad can testify to the efficacy of the Pax Herbal Brand, which is why their products have found a place in many homes.

Anyone who knows the Benedictine Monks at Ewu Monastery, here in Edo State, Nigeria, knows they would never rejoice over a global pandemic, seeing in it an opportunity to make money. My personal interactions with Rev Fr Anselm Adodo, OSB, Director at Pax Herbals have proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that health care is a passion for him, and not a moneymaking venture.

In an interview granted to Catholic Herald; official newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Fr. Dr. Anselm Adodo, whose doctoral degrees are in Management of Technology and Innovation, and Medical Sociology said, “we have herbal medicines for many of the diseases that plague our people. For more than 25 years, we have been producing herbal medicines for Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma, Malaria, prostrate problem, male and female infertility and others. For those 25 years, we have strived to maintain the same high standard and consistency. The only thing we are poor at is making noise about what we do. Those who use the products make the noise for us” (cf. fadakay.org).

It’s been ten days now, since “the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 [led by Boss Mustapha]…said three out of the numerous claims of COVID-19 herbal cure have been validated and forwarded to relevant authorities for validation” (see Punchng.com), out of the initial 19 herbal remedies received (I wonder why the names of the developers of the shortlisted three weren’t mentioned).

That’s 47 days since Pax Herbals first made public their claims of having discovered CVD PLUS for the Treatment of COVID-19.

My questions are simple:

  • Is it wrong for Pax Herbals to have recommended some of their earlier approved herbal remedies to manage Covid-19?
  • How long does it usually take NAFDAC to ensure “that Herbal remedies/Dietary supplements made in Nigeria products placed on the Nigerian market for use meet the requirements for Quality, Safety and Efficacy throughout the lifecycle of the product (cf. Nafdac.gov.ng)?
  • If NAFDAC has made so much ‘noise’ about its role being only ‘regulatory’, why is it taking so long for the same body to approve CVD PLUS for public use, irrespective of whether or not clinical trials have taken place?
  • If the controlled use of a potentially harmful drug like hydroxyl chloroquine can be considered as treatment for COVID-19, how much more herbal remedies which have proven to be effective in the management of symptoms associated with Covid-19?

The last time I checked (Sunday , 7th June, 2020) there were 12,488 cases of coronavirus in Nigeria, with 354 deaths. This is despite the fact that the number of samples tested are only 76,802 out of a population of close to 200 million Nigerians.

In the continuous absence of vaccines and any known medical remedies for COVID-19, and as Nigeria gradually relaxes lockdown rules, NAFDAC has even a greater moral obligation to tell us which three herbal remedies they have approved, and why.

They must do so NOW! Otherwise, their continued silence is culpable.

And if this culpable silence continues, I dare say that we must again take our health concerns into our own hands (as we often do), and begin the use of whatever herbal remedies we deem fit.

I am not a Herbal Consultant, neither do I work with PAXHERBAL. All opinions expressed here (except otherwise stated) are mine.