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Drug makers plan to boost economy with expo

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
17 August 2017   |   3:48 am
As part of efforts to make Nigeria self-sufficient in medicines production and distribution as well as capture new markets beyond the shores of this country and Africa, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria...

Executive Secretary, PMGMAN, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe

As part of efforts to make Nigeria self-sufficient in medicines production and distribution as well as capture new markets beyond the shores of this country and Africa, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) has concluded plans for the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Expo (NPME) 2017.

The NPME described as the biggest International Pharma Manufacturing Exhibition in Central and West Africa is scheduled to hold from August 30 to the September 1, 2017 at New Haven, Oba Akinjobi Street, GRA, in Ikeja, Lagos State.

Delegates are expected from across the continent, including from Ghana, Mali, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Senegal, Morocco, The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Niger, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Benin, and South Africa.

Executive Secretary, PMGMAN, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe, told journalists that the Expo is billed to attract close to 200 exhibiting companies and nearly 10,000 pharmaceutical and related sectors’ trade professionals from across the region.

This year’s edition of the NPME with theme “Increasing access to healthcare in Nigeria: Strategic partnerships to achieve Medicines’ Security and National Self Sufficiency” is expected to surpass all stakeholders’ expectations. This is due to the robust and comprehensive advocacy by PMGMAN, which has resulted in significant advances in the pharmaceutical manufacturing policy landscape, in Nigeria as well as on the Continent.

Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had earlier issued an Executive Order on support for local content in public procurement, directing the mandatory patronage of locally manufactured medicines by all government Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This policy is expected to accelerate growth and development of the local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. This will in turn assure national medicines’ security as well as boost self-sufficiency in the production of medicines. Other positive outcomes associated with these policies include the stimulation of considerable employment in the sector. The policy will also lead to increased inflow of foreign direct investment as well as facilitate the export of Nigerian medicines to neighbouring countries.

To build on this, the West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA) President and PMGMAN Chairman, Dr. S. Okey Akpa during his presentation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Health Ministers’ Assembly, urged members nations, as well as development partners to support the on-going collaborative efforts to exponentially increase manufacturers’ capacity on the continent. This, he argued was the most sustainable manner to guarantee access to high quality, affordable medicines within the region.

Another recent development that demonstrates the significant improvement in local pharmaceutical manufacturing is the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), signed by the Federal Government with a local firm, to produce vaccines in Nigeria. While signing the agreement on behalf of the government, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunsho Adewole, stated that the need to ensure medicines’ security for the nation was a key factor that underpinned the partnership. Adigwe said these policy reforms represent only a fraction of the strategic engagement roadmap developed and initiated by the group to foster a favourable policy environment for local manufacturers.

He added that this year’s theme was carefully formulated to ensure the timely involvement of all relevant stakeholders in an industry he described the jewel of the nation in terms of criticality and potential profitability. Adigwe further indicated that favourable government policies together with the right local and international partners were key factors that could bring Nigeria’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry a stone’s throw from the Indian model where pharmaceutical manufacturing has become a major contributor to India’s $10 trillion economy.

NPME traditionally showcases a wide range of equipment and inputs, which cover the entire industry, including allied industries such as food, nutrition, cosmetics and others. Investors, pharmaceutical processing machineries and service providers from a good number of countries on five continents have already indicated their participation in this year’s NPME. Additionally, pharmaceutical, healthcare, veterinary, food & beverage, and cosmetic finished products manufactured by local manufacturing companies in Nigeria will be on exhibition at the Expo.

It will be recalled that PMG-MAN is the umbrella body of the local manufacturers of medicines and healthcare products in Nigeria. With over one hundred and twenty members who own and operate established factories manufacturing life-saving medicines, it is clear that the group is critical in ensuring that Nigerians continue to have access to high quality and affordable medicines. With its focus on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the production of high quality, affordable medicines remains a key objective of the group. Job creation and the development of local contextual capacity in various relevant areas, is another major focal point for companies that manufacture medicines and allied products locally. The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector of Nigeria also contributes to nation building and economic development with aggregate investments in excess of N300 billion.