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Self sufficiency in drug manufacture is national security— PMG-MAN

By Chioma Obinna

In the wake of the recent outbreak of Ebola Virus Diseases, EVD in the country, local manufacturers of pharmaceutical products have called for urgent critical intervention in sustaining pharmaceutical manufacturing, saying, self sufficiency in medicines is now a national security.

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The call comes as manufacturers under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, PMG-MAN, convene in Abuja for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Forum with the theme: “Production of Medicines in Nigeria – Time for Critical Interventions”.

Speaking in Lagos, Chairman of PMG-MAN, Okey Akpa said: “PMG-MAN recognises the fact that drugs are key elements in the treatments needs in healthcare it is just one of the elements but very essential. Our concern is to provide quality and accessible drugs.

For us it is a national security. Take a scenario of what happened during Ebola. Drug is so critical because it is at the root of the health of the citizenry. So if drug supply is affected just like food supply is affected there is crisis immediately in the country,” he noted.

Akpa who cited the disappointment Nigeria got when the country requested for Zmapp from the US in the heat of the Ebola outbreak said: “For us, countries use what is at their disposal to achieve their own means. We do not wish that the drug need of Nigeria is controlled by any other country and to meet our drug needs based on importation is a risk we must think about.”

He said the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Industry has the capacity to meet 70 percent of Nigerian medicines need in line with the national drug policy and improve access to treatment in general.

While noting that many interventions were needed urgently to ensure regular supply of essential medicines, he listed the areas to include; the local manufacturers need to be supported in the areas of making designating pharmaceutical manufacturing as a priority sector, preferential patronage of local manufacturers by the implementation of domestic preference of the public procurement Act 2007, special incentives for processing international certification and WHO prequalification and implementation of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Policy on foreign exchange.

“The guidelines require that importation of finished products should be through Inter Bank system of sourcing foreign exchange not through CBN direct option of foreign exchange. Our members have experienced so much. Some critical items that we use in production have been classified by commercial banks that are implementing this policy as finished goods. All packaging materials are now being seen as finished products.

“We are asking the CBN to carefully direct the banks on these elements so that they will be exempted. The implication is that if we source these raw materials from interbank rates the cost will immediately will spill over to finished goods and cost of medicines will become much higher.”

He called for tax exemption of pharmaceutical raw materials and packaging materials. “Pharma industry in terms of what it represents to the well being of Nigerians and healthcare of Nigerians. We will wish to be looked at differently from other business, because health is wealth. Without health every other thing comes to a stop,” he added.

Akpa explained that the proposed forum in Abuja would feature three panels comprising key opinion leaders and experts in the selected subthemes: Production of medicine-critical policy interventions and incentives, production of medicines in Nigeria – critical quality imperatives and production of medicines in Nigeria – opportunities for supply of healthcare commodities.

capacity to meet 70 percent of Nigerian medicines need in line with the national drug policy and improve access to treatment in general. While noting that many interventions were needed urgently to ensure regular supply of essential medicines, he listed the areas to include; the local manufacturers need to be supported in the areas of making designating pharmaceutical manufacturing as a priority sector, preferential patronage of local manufacturers by the implementation of domestic preference of the public procurement Act 2007, special incentives for processing international certification and WHO prequalification and implementation of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Policy on foreign exchange.

“The guidelines require that importation of finished products should be through Inter Bank system of sourcing foreign exchange not through CBN direct option of foreign exchange. Our members have experienced so much. Some critical items that we use in production have been classified by commercial banks that are implementing this policy as finished goods. All packaging materials are now being seen as finished products.

“We are asking the CBN to carefully direct the banks on these elements so that they will be exempted. The implication is that if we source these raw materials from interbank rates the cost will immediately will spill over to finished goods and cost of medicines will become much higher.”

He called for tax exemption of pharmaceutical raw materials and packaging materials. “Pharma industry

 


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