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Committing to 2020 target for pharmaceutical grade corn-starch

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
23 November 2017   |   4:23 am
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called for local production of basic components for drugs manufacturing, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).


*PSN canvasses improved research, development of herbal medicines
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called for local production of basic components for drugs manufacturing, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).

The PSN in a communiqué released at the end of its 90th Annual National Conference in Umuahia, Abia State, noted unequivocally that unavailability of medicines and vaccines is a huge security risk to the Nigerian populace and called on Government and all relevant stakeholders to prioritize local production of drugs to ensure availability of medicines at all times.

The communiqué jointly signed by the President, Ahmed I. Yakasai; and National Secretary, Gbolagade Iyiola, noted: “Conference called for concerted efforts by all relevant stakeholders for the local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) including engaging Dangote Group on requirements of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure those considerations are reckoned within the blueprint for Dangote’s petrochemical plant. Conference identified a critical need exists for investors and stakeholders to meet to fine-tune strategies going forward to enable stable outcomes.”

The conference canvassed improved research and development, as well as production of herbal medicines as the most easily achieved targets for the pharmaceutical industry and called on all relevant stakeholders to put their focus on these areas. Conference encouraged stakeholders to commit themselves to the local production of pharmaceutical grade corn starch by the year 2020.

The conference in particular recognised the important role of funding for the pharmaceutical industry especially for local production and distribution of drugs and called on pharmaceutical manufacturers to avail themselves of the available funding opportunities including Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Intervention funds, Bank of Industry (BOI) Intervention funds and Pharmaceutical Expansion Intervention funds.

The conference applauded Presidential-level ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reform efforts of Government which involves simplifying the procedures for the import of vital raw materials and components needed for local manufacture of drugs in Nigeria as well as ensuring consistency in customs classifications and regulations.

At the end of the conference, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) elected the following pharmacists to serve and pilot the affairs of the Society for the next one year: Ahmed I. Yakasai, as President; Daniel Orumwense as Deputy President (South); John Enger as Deputy President (North); Emeka Callistus Duru as National Secretary; Uzoma Nwigudu as Assistant National Secretary; Adefolake Adeniyi as National Treasurer; Chinyere Osakwe as National Financial Secretary; Arinola E. Joda as National Publicity Secretary; Tosin Adeyemi as Editor-in-Chief; Dr. Tawa Idubor as Internal Auditor; Victor Okwuosa as Unofficial Member; Idris Pada as Unofficial Member; and Olumide Akintayo as Immediate Past President.

The conference admonished pharmaceutical manufacturers to form effective collaborations that will result in accelerated progress for the industry in a short period. One such required collaboration is with the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council a.k.a ‘Industrial Council’ which has a resolve to drive critical infrastructural development in the country. Others include collaborations with international Non-Governmental Organizations on contract manufacture, distribution and access to drugs, Bank of Industry for funds and regional manufacturing groups such as the West Africa Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.

The conference advocated the establishment of strong University-Industry partnership to promote technology innovation, entrepreneurship, supply chain and regulatory management to support the progressive movement of the local pharmaceutical industry to higher levels of the value chain.

The conference reiterated the need for stronger collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and the academia in the area of research and drug development in order to produce both locally available active molecules and other raw materials as one of the ways to attain self-sufficiency in local drug manufacture.

The conference reiterated its call on the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Academia to develop sufficient pharmaceutical human resources and local technical capacity through relevant education and training for the full implementation of the National University Commission (NUC)-approved PharmD programme in all Faculties of Pharmacy across the country.

The conference appealed to the Government (Federal and States) to activate the consultancy pharmacist philosophy by approving the consultant pharmacy status for all pharmacists that qualify for this status. Conference put on record as defined, a Consultant Pharmacist is “a Pharmacist who is paid to provide expert advice on the use of medications by individuals or within institutions, or on the provision of Pharmacy services to institutions” services already being offered by many pharmacists. Conference counseled all stakeholders in health that the consultancy cadre in Pharmacy is not to take away from any profession, but in reality, a value-added service to consumers of medicines in their joint resolve to make Nigeria’s brand of healthcare practice of global standard.

The conference reminded President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the Consolidated Healthworkers Salary Scale (CONHESS) adjustment circular for health worker, which was one of the agreements signed between Government and Labour to call off the September nationwide strike of health workers.

The conference lamented the seemingly slow pace of the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), which was specifically amended to integrate operators in the existing Open Drug Markets which are expected to metamorphose into Coordinated Wholesale Centres in Ijora in Lagos State, Aba in Abia State, Onitsha in Anambra State and Kano by January 2019 in yet another shift announced by the Federal Ministry of Health in August 2017. Conference called on the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and other stakeholders to work assiduously towards realising the new date in the bid to restore sanity to the nation’s drug distribution channels.