Features  |  Health  

How local manufacturing can reduce fake, substandard drugs in Nigeria

By Stanley Akpunonu |   05 December 2019   |   3:55 am  

Towards achieving self-reliance on essential drugs, stakeholders have reiterated the need to boost and improve local manufacturing of drugs in the country. This, they said can curb substandard and fake drug ravaging the country due to the porous nature of the border.

According to them, local manufacturing was a policy direction set by the federal government to assure national drug security through self-sufficiency in the supply of essential medicine.

President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, at the Sanofi and May & Baker officially signing of the contract for manufacturing of medicines in Nigeria said it is important for stakeholders to work together and ensure the drug market supply chain is sanitised. He noted that the National Agency for Food Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) is doing a proper regulation in certifying drugs across the country both locally made or imported. Ohuabunwa disclosed that the majority of substandard, fake drugs or low-quality drugs come from outside the country due to the poor management of the borders.

The president continued: “The local manufacturers ought to continually keep raising their games. NAFDAC has graded local manufacturer according to quality capability. They are working with every group to see they are working with the optimal levels.” He urged the government to improve on the legislation because of some of the laws was not robust enough.

“The Pharmacy Act waiting for legislation is long overdue. The moment this kind of law is available, it strengthens the regulators to have to control the availability of drugs, protect the channel from manufacturers to importers through to the consumer so that the sanity and integrity of the channel can be established and maintained,” Ohuabunwa said.

Chief Executive Officer, (CEO), May & Baker, Nnamdi Okafor, said that companies abroad and in Nigeria pharma-space were beginning to work together to ensure self-sufficiency of essential medicine. He added that the partnership would see more essential drugs being produced in the country, build more capacity, increase the transfer of knowledge, technology and improve the employment situation.

“Most companies here are working far below the stock capacity. Actually, we are engaging the government and some multinational companies. For many years, they are bringing finished product but we tell them to look at companies in Nigeria…”

There are quite a few companies in Nigeria that operate at the highest level you can get anywhere in the world.

“These companies have facilities that are running less than 50per cent utilisation. It is good thing Sanofi is signing this agreement with May and Baker which have about four products in the first instance that would be manufactured in May and Baker facility pharma centre at Ota, Ogun State,” Okafor noted.

Also, General Manager and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Folake Odediran said the mission was to empower lives and not all about providing medicine.

“If we have a plant in Nigeria and more people are employed you are empowering lives because you are providing jobs,” she said.

Odediran said that by virtue of the contract, capacity is being developed in Nigeria; the purpose was to identify the needs of a place and help to solve them.

She continued: “The government has been talking about self-reliance on essential medicine, what Sanofi has done was to look for a credible partner to produce our products. Most of the products we promote in Nigeria are imported but now we are taking a bold step to produce some of them locally.

“It will bring empowerment it will increase access, availability and more importantly quality because when we produce in Nigeria, the quality and standards will be guaranteed and also enhance the employability.”

Odediran added that the formal signing of a manufacturing agreement with May and Baker Nigeria PLC is a proof of commitment to localisation and they will continue to contribute their quota towards availability of very efficacious, high quality made in Nigeria medicines.

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