Dr. Olubunmi Jetawo-Winter, the Executive Secretary of Kwara State Health Insurance Agency, on Friday said only 60 out of the 180 existing pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria are active.
She spoke in her address at the 2023 Week of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, Kwara State Chapter.
The theme of the week is: “Emerging Challenges in Achieving Medicine Security in Nigeria.”
Jetawo-Winter stated that while only 60 pharmaceutical industries are active in terms of manufacturing, others are in packaging or repackaging.
She said: “It is saddening to see products, that pharmaceutical industries have the capacity and competence to produce locally, being imported into Nigerian market.
“The country imports up to 90 per cent of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient excipients, and almost all equipment used for manufacturing of drugs are also imported.”
The expert opined that about 30 per cent of drugs used in Nigeria are produced locally, saying the country largely depends on China and India for the remaining 70 per cent.
Jetawo-Winter underscored the need for medicine security in Nigeria, describing it as measure to ensure that quality, efficacy, safety and sufficiency of medicines are guaranteed for defined population.
She said: “Once produced by the manufacturer, medicines and medical consumables must meet the right standard for manufacturing.
“The integrity of such medicines and consumables are not compromised during its transportation, distribution and, storage, until it gets to the end user.”
Similarly, Jetawo-Winter said Nigeria had huge potential for local raw materials production, including APIs and excipients to support local manufacturing of drugs and medical consumables, while leveraging on emerging opportunities in medicine security.
She also called for increased funding for health and improved pharmacovigilance, which she said is responsibility of every pharmacist.
Isaac Salami, the state Chairman of NAIP, explained that the three-day event was to sensitise all stakeholders on the need to produce effective, safe, affordable and readily available drugs for the state and Nigeria as a whole.
He appealed for strong political will and commitment by the government at all tiers to boost the pharmaceutical industries in the country.
“We are calling for government assistance, as most of our pharmaceutical ingredients are imported, including packaging,” he said.
The NAIP chairman also advised regulatory agencies to do more in terms of helping the industries in promotion, manufacturing and safety of drugs to Nigerians.
Adejuwon Otelaja, the Chairman of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Kwara State Chapter, who was represented by Munirat Bello, Secretary of the association, underscored the need to finding lasting solutions to challenges confronting the sector.
Otelaja lamented that some parts of the country record shortages in over-the-counter drugs, while observing the need for stability in the sector.
Aina Obafemi, a former Vice Chairman of NAIP, noted that the association had been in the forefront of sensitising the people on best practices regarding drugs.
She assured that members are ready to collaborate with government to ensure the industries overcome the present challenges.
According to her, government can support local manufacturers financially and cancel double taxation which is detrimental to the growth of the sector.
Obafemi also applauded the present administration for the reform on getting forex, saying the reform will assist greatly in acquiring APIs in Nigeria.
SOURCE: The Eagle Online Image: Nigerian Finder