— Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire
By Chioma Obinna
The Federal Government is stimulating growth in local pharmaceutical manufacturing and assisting companies that are pioneering efforts in local manufacturing in Nigeria by encouraging purchase of their products and creating enabling environment for their operations.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. OsagieEhanirewho disclosed this in Lagos while on a working visit to May & Baker PharmaCentre in Ota, Ogun state weekend as part of his facility assessment tour of selected local pharmaceutical companies, said boosting local production is at the fore front of the agenda of the government.
Ehanire said President Muhammad Buhari intends to grow the economy by improving local manufacturing and the government is interested in supporting local pharmaceutical manufacturers, and to assist them develop vaccine technology and capacity for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in Nigeria.
The minister said Cuba is offering a helping hand with local vaccine production, while the Indian government has offered to bring bulk API manufacturing into Nigeria.
Earlier, the Managing Director, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor called on the government to stimulate the local pharmaceutical industry by providing special funds, easier access to foreign exchange for raw materials, and patronage of locally manufactured products, among others.
Okafor said the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry is suffering poor patronage from government and individuals who find imported and sometimes inferior products cheaper to buy. This he said has led to over 60 per cent idle capacity among local pharmaceutical plants.
He hinted that May & Baker PharmaCentre has capacity to produce 4.5 billion tablets and 37.5 million bottles of liquid preparations annually but because of these and other challenges of the economy, the factory is currently running at 50 per cent capacity.
The May & Baker PharmaCentre which was commissioned by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 was certified by NAFDAC in 2012 and in 2014 received the cGMP certification of the WHO.