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Coalition urges government to address rising cost of essential drugs 

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Amidst efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Greater Health Initiative (GNI), in partnership with other civil society organisations, has called on the Federal Government to address rising cost and absence of essential drugs in the country.
 
In a statement, yesterday, Mr. Achike Achude, who signed on behalf of the coalition, advised the government against its new policies, aimED at banning importation of essential drugs and the proposed 20 per cent duty on imported drugs.
 
The coalition noted that if other neighbouring African countries are operating a zero tax regime plus lower port charges on drug importation, why should Nigeria operate a 20 per cent tax regime that has now rendered essential drugs inaccessible to the public? 
 

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The group lamented there were about 100 drug manufacturing companies in Nigeria in the past, but about 25 per cent of them had to shut down operations, due to harsh economic conditions, while the rest are producing below capacity.

Achude said: “They had to mix production with importation to stay in business. In fact, all drug manufacturing companies in Nigeria produce less than 20 per cent of our national drug needs. This means about 80 per cent of unmet medicaments in Nigeria are imported from abroad.”

The coalition decried CBN’s policy of setting aside special funds to start local manufacturing of drugs.

“Normally, from a patriotic and sentimental perspective, this should be good news but in reality, it is ill advised, ill motivated and a potential waste of national resources. You cannot automatically legislate into existence, a conducive environment for manufacturing. It is a product of years of hard work, infrastructure development such as electricity,” it said.

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