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Nigeria produces only 20% of its medicines

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Experts reveal that Nigeria only produces 20% of its essential medicines needs.

During the sixth Nigeria Pharma Manufacturers Expo 2022 (NPME), which was organized by PMG-MAN and held in Lagos, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), Dr. Fidelis Ayebae and President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh provided explanations for why Nigeria is only able to generate 20% of the necessary medicines it requires and instead relies on importing 80% of those medicines.

They cautioned that reliance on importation to cover the medical needs of a growing population has serious repercussions for the development of the domestic Pharmaceutical Industry as well as the availability, affordability, and accessibility of necessary medications in the nation. In addition, stakeholders affirmed that local Medicine manufacturers are not patronized by donors and UN organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) since they are not WHO-prequalified.

The pharmaceutical sector needs structural modification.

As the theme of the 2022 NPME is “Advancing the Frontiers of Medicine Security in Nigeria: Expanding Local Pharma Manufacturing in the Era of AfCFTA”, and in order to change this medicine dependency trend, they suggested a number of things, including a special foreign exchange (forex) regime, a reduced tariff on the importation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for local pharma manufacturers, and increased patronage for drugs and medical products that are made in Nigeria. Moreover, they asserted that cutting taxes and providing other incentives to entrepreneurs is an effective way to stimulate Economic Growth.

Olubunmi Aribeana, the Director of Food and Drug Services at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), made the statement on behalf of Dr. Ehanire, who stated that it was necessary for Nigeria to maximize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The minister reaffirmed that the agreement would result in the creation of the largest free trade area in the world, based on the number of nations that would participate in it. More so, he added that the agreement brings together 1.3 billion persons from 55 different countries whose combined gross domestic product (GDP) is valued at $3.4 trillion.

Nigeria pharmaceutical companies do not attain WHO prequalification.

Dr. Ehanire explained that Nigeria, which has a population of over 220 million people, needs to profit more from AfCFTA. Nigerian indigenous manufacturing companies need to achieve WHO prequalification in order to operate effectively. Because of this, our local manufacturers of pharmaceutical products will be able to attract markets from all over the world. He added that the FMoH receives donor funds for its programs, but they are unable to procure the pharmaceuticals and medical supplies from Nigerian manufacturers since none of them has been prequalified by the WHO.

Prof. Usifoh made an observation that the government ought to provide assistance to local manufacturers because they are confronted with a great number of difficulties. In order for the pharmaceutical sector to be able to compete and manufacture high-quality pharmaceuticals, they require policies passed by the government. Furthermore, Dr. Ayebae stated that the pandemic serves as a wake-up call to the international community, prompting them to focus inward and give priority to the pharmaceutical manufacturing sectors in their own countries.

NAFDAC reveals that some companies are capable of producing vaccines.

The director general of NAFDAC stated that vaccine production would take place. They already have companies that are capable of producing vaccines, and they have put in a lot of effort. And currently, some of its employees are going to South Korea to receive specialized training in the production of bio Vaccines. He added that no country could produce vaccines if it has not reached maturity level 3, and they have reached maturity level 3 after ten years, in which they are now moving on to maturity level 4. This will help the country’s manufacturers get recognition on a global scale.


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