HEMDDAN decries rising cost of hospital equipment, medical devices
• Association proposes 25% levy on syringes to reduce price, protect local manufacturers
The Hospital Equipment and Medical Devices Dealers Association of Nigeria (HEMDDAN) has decried rising cost of medical devices and pharmaceutical products in the market.
National President, HEMDDAN, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Nwankwo, at the 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, last week, said the trend is too dangerous for the health industry and it may worsen health challenges in the country. Nwankwo said the situation might lead to spread of infectious diseases, especially in rural areas and also encourage importation of fake and substandard medical devices with attendant consequences.
The HEMDDAN President called on the Federal Government to quickly step into this matter and arrest the situation. He said one of the major reasons for high cost of medical devices is the newly introduced $11,800 fee for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification for each product by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) since March 2021. He appealed to NAFDAC, National Assembly and Federal Government to consider the negative effects of the current cost of GMP certification on the general society and reverse the decision.
He warned that if nothing is done urgently, the public might suffer untold hardship, as the cost of medical treatment will become too high and unaffordable by ordinary Nigerians.
However, in order to reduce the price of syringes and protect local manufacturers, Nwankwo proposed a 25 per cent levy on syringes instead of the current 60 per cent levy.
He said: “We all know that local manufacturers do not have capacity to meet up with national demand for syringes; we therefore propose a levy of 25 per cent on syringes… The price of syringes is too high in the market now.”
Nwankwo observed that syringes are very essential products in healthcare delivery and carry a very high volume of demand. He said they should be made readily available and affordable, otherwise people might resort to using syringes more than once with grave consequences including spread of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and other infectious diseases, especially in the rural areas.
“On the issue of 60 per cent levy on syringes, we completely agree on the need to protect our indigenous manufacturers. This will help to reduce pressure on our foreign exchange, create jobs for our youths and improve our economic growth. HEMDDAN totally supports our own indigenous manufacturers and would promote and market our locally made products,” Nwankwo said.
On the issue of prolonged debt by government hospitals, Nwankwo said the legal and debt recovery committee and HEMDDAN’s legal team shall assist members to recover any prolonged debt owed by any government hospital or agencies.
On the issue of foreign manufacturers and agents selling directly to HEMDDAN’s customers, he said the situation should be discussed with the National Assembly Committee on Health.
Besides 60 per cent levy on syringes, Nwankwo said there are quite a number of challenges facing members’ businesses today that needs intervention of the association and Federal Government.
He said some of the major challenges are: prolonged delay in registration of products; multiple charges including hike in GMP certificate; and uneven competition with foreign manufacturers and agents.
Nwankwo said HEMDDAN is making serious effort to resolve some of these challenges. “The Technical Committee wrote a letter to the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye, requesting a meeting with her. Our letter was officially acknowledged and is receiving attention,” he said.