‘How high cost of drugs affects quality of health services’
Dr. Chukwuemeka P. C. Azubuike, a lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos explained that high cost of drugs is bad in all ramifications, because it is affecting the quality of health services.
Azubuike said: “It is encouraging importation of fake and substandard drugs. Also, there is scarcity of quality essential drugs. The prescribers could be limited to the choice of drugs they want to prescribe. The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and its technical groups have been in the forefront in the condemnation of the high cost of drugs and allied products. They have warned the government on the implications of the high cost of drugs on the quality of health services.
They have also made different recommendations/proposals on how to reduce the cost of drugs. “Among the recommendations are: giving special waivers on the importation of essential pharmaceutical products both finished products and raw materials, as well as giving preferences to pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers to access the foreign currencies at the official rates.”
On the way forward, Azubuike said government and citizens are not paying adequate attention to the issues. “I think in order to reduce cost, government and pharmaceutical companies should invest more on research and development and support the sourcing of pharmaceutical raw materials from the unexploited and potential sources that are locally available,” he said. “Improved supply of electricity will reduce the overhead costs of the local manufacturers on diesel and purchase and maintenance of power generating sets. Government should give preferences on foreign exchange allocations for the importation of essential drugs, while duties on such commodities should be reduced. Lastly, necessary support and attention should be given to the use of herbal medicines, as alternative to orthodox medications.”
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