By Sola Ogundipe
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, have passionately appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into the impending hike in the prices of pharmaceutical drug products, likely to envelope the country as from tomorrow, January 2, 2013.
In the appeal, sent through the Secretary to the Government, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, National Chairman of the ACPN, Pharm. Olufemi Adebayo, said the Association was compelled to appeal for Presidential intervention, in order to save Nigerians the agony of contending with skyrocketing drug prices in Nigeria in 2013.
“The ACPN believes that government should promote policies that would encourage accessibility, availability and efficacious drugs in line with the National Drug Policy 2005. As partners and major stakeholders we posit that any factor that needlessly raises cost of production of drugs, jeopardises the spirit of the National Drug Policy which is not in public interest,” Olufemi stated.
He said as part of its anti-counterfeiting measures, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, gave a compelling directive that importers/manufacturers of all anti-malarial drugs must put the SMS authentication sticker on packs of their brands as from January 2, 2013.
“This same directive has been extended to importers/manufacturers of antibiotics with effect from March, 2013. To comply with this directive, the importers/manufacturers will have to, collectively, spend a minimum of N20-25 billion.
“This conservative estimate does not include the $7,500 infrastructure set up cost which is being demanded by Sproxil Limited, the Mobile Authentication Service, MAS, provider and a company promoted by a Ghanaian entrepreneur.”
Olufemi asserted that the ACPN is praying the Federal Government to investigate allegations of sponsorship and promotion of the MAS provider by a Ghanaian and why Nigerian entrepreneurs should part with up to N25 billion annually.
“If NAFDAC must implement the MAS, then we will advocate voluntary compliance through the current gradual optional adoption process. With time, the value (or otherwise) of the MAS will be apparent for all to see.
“As partners and major stakeholders we posit that any factor that needlessly raises cost of production of drugs, jeopardises the spirit of the National Drug Policy which is not in public interest,” Olufemi said.