According to stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry, Nigeria is close to becoming a key player in the global pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. Their optimism was expressed during the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Quality Improvement and Capacity Building session. They also signposted the World Health Organization, WHO, Pre-Qualification Programme Launch, under sponsorship of the World Bank, implementation by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and in partnership with Bloom Public Health. This Pre-qualification is the foundation of global health procurement.
This Pre-qualification of WHO is concerned with provision of quality, safe and effective medicines for UN procurement agencies of the United Nations and countries for large purchase and distribution of these medicines to countries with limited resources. NIPRD’s Director General, Dr. Obi Adigwe, stated that with the initiatives that his tenure in office have developed, the Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing sector is truly on the path to being recognized globally. The capacity that is being built is significant to achieving security of medicines.
Less than 10 Nigerian pharma manufacturers have the WHO Pre-qualification.
Dr. Adigwe commended the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Mahmuda Usman, for his continuous granting of approval to programmes that will foster the transformation of medicine safety and security in Nigeria. Amidst commendation, he applauded the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ekumankama Nkama, for ensuring rapid facilitation of the WHO-Prequalification Programmes design. It was also affirmed that NIPRD has designed more than 20 pharmaceutical products.
Expressing excitement on the WHO Pre-Qualification Launch, Chief Executive Officer of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie Anyakora, admitted his one decade old worry concerning the unhealthy position of Nigeria in security of medicines. Most of the medicines donated to the country are not manufactured locally. Despite the large population of Nigeria, there are less than ten Nigerian pharma manufacturers who possess the Pre-qualification. The country has the expertise, commitment and resources, therefore, the narrative has to be changed.
Capacity building is pivotal to developing local pharmaceutical sector.
President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Professor Cyril Usifoh, applauded NIPRD and Bloom Public Health for the fruitful collaboration in organizing a transformation programme that will significantly benefit the whole Nigerian pharmaceutical sector. In his statement, he asserted that there have been various conversations that concern quality medicines in Nigeria. He added that Capacity Building is critical to developing the country’s local pharmaceutical industry. Also, to improve pharmaceutical production, APIs need to be sourced locally.
Chairman of the Governing Council of the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN), Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora, said the WHO Pre-qualification will enhance medicine security. Currently, PCN is working in collaboration with other stakeholders like the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) to improve local production of APIs and excipients. Dr. Ahmed Khedr, WHO Team Lead and Lagos Liaison Officer, stated that the programme surfaced right in time, showing Nigeria’s interest in building its local pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity.
Strengthened local capacity will ensure epidemic preparedness.
According to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Alhaji Mahmuda Mamman, Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturers must leverage on this rare opportunity to develop the industry’s capacity for local manufacturing. This act will empower the country’s health system for better preparedness and response against epidemic. National Co-Ordinator, National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi, also said that the National Malaria Elimination Programme is concerned with ensuring that more local manufacturers of anti-malarial products have the WHO Pre-qualification.