Experts move for improved local manufacturing of drugs
Experts have called for boost in local production of drugs to strengthen Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mahmuda Mamman, led the call at the launch of Nigerian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Quality Improvement and Capacity Building, a World Health Organisation (WHO) Pre-Qualification programme, in Lagos.
The programme is sponsored by World Bank and implemented by National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) in partnership with Bloom Public Health.
Mamman advised pharmaceutical manufacturers to leverage the project to increase their capacities for local manufacturing, thereby, strengthening the health system for better epidemic preparedness and response.
Director-General of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, noted that the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector was on path of global reckoning.
He noted that after close to a decade planning, “our initiative to catalyse Nigeria’s emergence as a world leader in pharmaceutical manufacturing has finally begun.”
Adigwe added: “The capacity we will build in the industry is key to achieving medicines’ security. Ultimately, this will not only improve health and socioeconomic indices, it will also underpin Nigeria’s emergence as pharma hub within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
On NIPRD’s preparedness to champion the transformation, the DG said the institute had designed over 20 pharmaceutical products.
He lauded the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) and African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) for contributing N300 million and $1 million respectively in support of NIPRD’s transformational initiatives for the pharma manufacturing sector.
“NIPRD, in conjunction with other stakeholders, is working to make Nigeria the phytomedicine and pharmaceutical manufacturing hub of the African continent. This is in addition to our efforts towards improving the vaccines value-chain in the country,” he added.
Chief Executive Officer of Bloom Public Health, Prof. Chimezie Anyakora, deplored the beggarly status of Nigeria in terms of medicine security amid promising potential.
He noted that with the WHO pre-qualification initiative, the pharma manufacturing sector is poised to take its leadership role in the league of global players.
His words: “I believe the WHO PQ project is going to be one of the most impactful interventions in the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector, as it will enable us to compete globally and also increase and strengthen the local capacity of the pharmaceutical sector.”
On his part, president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, said there have been a lot of conversations on quality medicines in Nigeria recently, observing that capacity building remains key in the development of the local pharmaceutical industry.
“NIPRD is doing well and needs to be encouraged. We need to source APIs locally to boost pharmaceutical production,” he said.
In his goodwill message, Minister of State for Health, Ekumankama Nkama, noted: “By attaining WHO PQ, pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria will establish their capability to produce medicines that consistently meet stringent standards, thus facilitating international procurement and distribution of locally produced medicines in Nigeria.”