By Sola Ogundipe
NIGERIANS have begun to benefit from revolutionary drug access mechanisms designed to rid the country of fake and substandard drugs.
A partnership initiative between the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Global PCCA, an investments and healthcare solutions group based in the United States of America is making this objective possible as part of effortd to put paid, once and for all, to the perrenial problem of drug unavailability, inaccessibility and unaffordability.
An instance of this development occurred last week during the launch of Global PCCAâ€™s mini drug manufacturing initiative in collaboration with the National Hospital, Abuja.
Director General, NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii told Good Health Weekly that the Minimac process that has been tried and tested in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia, will assist Nigerian pharmacists and physicians to customise medications to meet a specific need.
â€œPhysicians do encounter patients who require specialised drugs that are either not commercially available or need to be delivered in special dose delivery forms that are not conventional, but Minimac provides solutions of the urgency of the now.
Orhii said the out of stock syndrome contributed to the current challenge of fake drugs of today, â€œso if we try and address the problems od access and availability through a public-private partnership such as this, Nigerians will be able to pay for their medications at the hospital level, thus minimising the tendency to patronise other sources.â€
The Agency is also working with GlobalPCCA on a technology called Radio Frequency IdentificationÂ that will cause a cargo to transmit data veryfying its authenticity.
Chief Executive Officer and President GlobalPCCA, Dr. Steve Ams said the organisation had come to work with NAFDAC to provide Nigerians active pharmaceutical ingredients in finished dosage forms that would be guaranteed in terms of quality.
â€œThe projectÂ is designed to fill the gap created by fake and substandard drugs in Nigeria. We work with the American Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), andÂ are bringing US standard on the ingredient side for manufacturing and on the drug side for ingestion. Each teaching hospital in the country will have a Minimac franchise.
â€œLocal drug manufacturersÂ own the industry and weâ€™ll teach them how to do it right. The partnership is a franchisee one in which weâ€™ll provide the technical know-how. We are providing an open door to the 24/7 problem-solving call center in the US.
â€œThe drugs would be affordable because many of the pharmacies have a mark-up of over 500 per cent, so the end-user does not in any way bear the cost effect. Weâ€™ll also be working hand-in-hand with the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research (NIPRID). Our plan is to be as indiginous as possible.â€