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NAIP activates Ebonyi pharma city initiative

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By Usman Oladimeji

Over 70 percent of drugs utilized in Nigeria's healthcare system are imported.

The National Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP) has received authorization from the Ebonyi State government over its set-out initiative to develop an integrated pharmaceutical production city in the state. This was said to have been carried out under the control of Engineer David Umahi, a pioneer of infrastructural development. Also, this was reportedly geared towards the Private Sector’s concerted effort to radically enhance the industrial production of drugs utilized in Nigeria’s healthcare system. According to a report, Nigeria is highly dependent on foreign manufacturers, with over 70 per cent of drugs utilized in the healthcare system imported.

While speaking at the PSN national conference, Ken Onuegbu, NAIP Chairman and Tricare Pharmaceuticals Managing Director Limited, also emphasized this massive project. The federal government has been urged to galvanize the process of turning petrochemicals into precursors for producing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), which will boost the production of drugs in the country. And also, to emplace effective intervention measures to ensure adequate medical Security in the country. This is said will, in turn, entice institutional Investors and venture capitalists to invest in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

NAIP and NAPA made significant headway with two distinct products.

As the incumbent administration’s tenure advance to an end, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) is working efficaciously to arm the incoming administration with a robust strategic developmental plan to revitalize and revamp the pharmaceutical industry, which is virtually in a comatose state. This is done as a strategic national economic security agenda, given that the industry places drug security as a paramount issue. To reduce the importation rate, there is a great need to devise radical interventions in the industry to boost local production as well as the distribution of highly efficacious drugs that will be affordable and available widely.

In addition, the National Association of Independent Pharmacists (NAIP) and the National Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA) have made significant headway on two distinct products through their joint research into how to revolutionize the sector and enhance local production. The registration procedure with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and cooperation from the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) are all that stand in the way of completing this milestone.

The project process is coordinated by Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).

Although there were difficulties with the project, mainly from the host communities, these issues were purportedly addressed with the strategic assistance of the state government. Significant progress has been made on the Ebonyi Pharmaceutical Manufacturing City Project, Ebonyi Pharma Park, which is coordinated by Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed by NAIP. All necessary agreements, documents, and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have also been completed. Led by Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, ex-president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and a former pioneer managing director of Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Plc, SPV is saddled with the responsibility of driving the project process

SPV is initially meant to be an integrated pharmaceutical hub that includes everything from drug production to other companies that provide adjunct services, such as a coordinated warehouse centre, printing, packaging, freight, and financial services, all in one city dedicated to the pharmaceutical sector. There will be housing for the employees, schools for their children, and hospitals. In Africa, Ethiopia is the only country that has such an avenue. So, Nigeria’s own is modelled after the one in Ethiopia.

Major investments are anticipated in Pharma City power projects.

To power the Pharma Park, massive gas turbine units will be implanted. With such high levels of vertical and horizontal integration, organizations in the city are all working toward the same goal of getting the city to the point where it can produce its supply of drugs. It is expected that major investors in the power industry, such as Prof. Barth Nnaji (Geometric Systems) and Femi Otedola, would invest in the power projects included with the Pharma City.


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