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Stakeholders seek ₦600b for pharma production

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By Okunloye Abiodun

Domestic pharmaceutical industry will be boosted through financial support.

The Nigerian Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations is planning to establish a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Development Fund worth ₦600bn. This fund will carry a five percent interest rate, requiring 7 to 10 years. During a FeNPIA-hosted event honouring Prof. Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, the group stated on Monday. It emphasised the importance of establishing a fund to aid in producing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, vaccines, critical supply chain interventions, and Research at the local level. During the event, Dr. Okey Akpa, President of FeNPIA, addressed the audience, discussing the numerous obstacles hindering the expansion of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector. He emphasised that this financial support would bolster the local industry, alleviating the exorbitant prices of medications and thereby ensuring their availability, accessibility, and affordability to all citizens in Nigeria.

He mentioned that Nigeria could rapidly become a leading centre for the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, bringing numerous advantages such as improved healthcare, higher foreign exchange earnings, increased gross domestic product, and more employment opportunities. He emphasised the need for the Federal Government to promptly address the obstacles hindering the sector, as they have led to recent shortages of medications and subsequent soaring prices. He identified various elements contributing to the issue, such as constraints on foreign exchange, the requirement for a synchronised and strategic method of acquiring goods, and inconsistency in policies. The FeNPIA stands as a dedicated group that advocates for the progress and continuity of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector, with a primary goal of fostering the nation’s independence in manufacturing healthcare goods that meet worldwide quality standards.

Strong cooperation between the NHIA, manufacturers, and others is needed.

GlaxoSmithKline, the multinational pharmaceutical giant, disclosed its intention to withdraw from Nigeria in 2023 after a successful 51-year in parallel with various other entities. Akpa proposed a collaborative and strategic approach to procuring medicines through pooled procurement or public-private partnerships. Certain states and pharmaceutical industry members are currently utilising this method. To achieve Universal Health Coverage as outlined in the National Health Insurance Authority Act 2022, it is imperative to establish strong cooperation between the National Health Insurance Authority, domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers, and international distributors or importers of pharmaceuticals. He disclosed that, in certain instances, tariffs on pharmaceutical machinery, various equipment, and raw materials range from 5 percent up to a substantial 25 percent.

Akpa has suggested that local pharmaceutical machinery, equipment, and accessories manufacturers should enjoy a zero percent duty rate to stimulate the industry’s development. Present fiscal policy dictates that raw materials used in pharmaceutical products are exempt from value-added tax (VAT), and it is important to maintain this exemption despite the Nigeria Customs Service’s recent attempt to impose VAT on certain pharmaceutical raw materials and finished products. It is imperative to promptly reconsider lowering the exorbitant tariff imposed on certain pharmaceutical manufacturing components, as doing so will effectively contribute to a continued decrease in drug expenses.

FG shows concerns about the pharmaceutical sector and industry trends.

Pate acknowledged their requests and confirmed that the President is actively working towards bolstering the pharmaceutical sector and ensuring the availability of accessible and secure supplies in Nigeria, thereby enhancing the well-being of the citizens. The industry stakeholders’ input has been carefully considered, leading the President to instruct the attorney general to draft an executive order as a proactive measure. President Tinubu values the concerns of Nigerians and ensures their voices are heard. He prioritises the well-being of the people by allocating necessary resources to acquire vital medicines that will provide relief to those in dire need, especially the disadvantaged and impoverished.

The minister added that drug prices have reached exorbitant levels worldwide in recent months, attributing this surge to a scarcity of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The minister highlighted that while the Western world is grappling with resolving these challenges, they are concurrently establishing strategies to acquire and collaborate with local manufacturers in efforts to offer solutions. Pate reassured stakeholders that Nigeria possesses a thriving domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing sector as pharmaceutical companies depart. He emphasised that numerous international pharmaceutical companies have expressed keenness to venture into the Nigerian market. Over the past three months, at least three significant participants have been actively examining the prospects of establishing manufacturing facilities in Nigeria. Their anticipation is that numerous additional companies will also join in this endeavour.

Related Article: Local production of pharmaceutical supplies

Lastly, the future of the local industry appears promising despite the current challenges. Although it may seem arduous, the industry is filled with assurance that it will withstand today’s challenges. The minister expressed the government’s receptiveness and determination in addressing the VAT concerns pertaining to raw materials and imported goods. They are actively exploring solutions to alleviate this burden, aiming to empower local manufacturers and foster their prosperity. Also, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, the former Health minister, expressed anticipation for a pharmaceutical sector that can ensure the provision, availability, and affordability of medications. He urged the Federal Government to support industry representatives in tackling the aforementioned challenges. This could involve tackling outdated legislation that obstructs industry expansion and promoting investments in research and development.

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Ask Nigeria
21 days ago

Stakeholders seek ₦600b for pharma production. – Domestic pharmaceutical industry will be boosted through financial support. Express your point of view.

20 days ago

In order to produce pharmaceuticals, stakeholders want ₦600b. – Finances will be provided to support the domestic pharmaceutical industry.We will incur enormous costs if we produce medicinal products on our own. We ought to be able to do this, if we just had the funding.

20 days ago

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Development Fund valued ₦600bn. With a five percent interest rate, this fund will take seven to ten years to mature.significance of creating a fund to support local research, vaccine development, essential supply chain reforms, and the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. One issue affecting our nation’s pharmaceutical industry is a lack of funding; we should make investments in it to improve outcomes for the good of the nation.

Adeoye Adegoke
20 days ago

That’s great news! It’s really important to support the domestic pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. By providing financial support, we can boost local production and reduce our dependence on imported drugs.
Investing ₦600b in the pharmaceutical sector will not only create job opportunities but also enhance the availability and affordability of essential medications for Nigerians. It’s crucial to prioritize the development of our own pharmaceutical industry to ensure access to quality healthcare for all.
With increased funding, local pharmaceutical companies can improve their manufacturing capabilities, research and development, and overall production capacity. This will not only benefit the industry but also contribute to the overall health and well-being of the Nigerian population.
It’s exciting to see stakeholders recognizing the importance of supporting the domestic pharmaceutical industry. This investment has the potential to revolutionize healthcare in Nigeria and strengthen our healthcare system.
Let’s hope that this financial support leads to significant advancements in the pharmaceutical sector and paves the way for a healthier future for all Nigerians.