By Gabriel Olawale
The Federal government has been urged to review the duty placed on imported drugs even as well as improve infrastructural support for local manufacturers.
A pharmacist and Managing Director, of World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited, Pharm. Ananth Narayan, who made the call in Lagos, said majority of the consumers of medicines are not doing soat their own will.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Committee of Head of Pharmacy in Federal Health Institutions, Narayan said: “As I speak there is high duty on finished pharmaceutical products. This is unfair, because it is consumed majorly by sick people. It is not for pleasure that people take medicines, 95 per cent of people who use drugs do so to survive illnesses.”
He regretted that inability of 24 to 30 percent of people are unable to purchase medicines they require.
“Certain diseases like cancer can only be treated by 50 per cent of which 25 to 30 get treated by borrowing money with the hope to pay back.”
Narayan called on government to rescue Nigerians through the NHIS even as he pointed out that currently, there are a lot of grey areas in the Scheme which make it unbeneficial to the larger population.
He also identified the need for government to support local manufacturers with adequate infrastructure so that they can serve the nation and feed themselves, “the biggest challenge manufacturers face in this country is electricity because pharmaceutical companies needs 24 hours power supply per day.
“If power can be assured, they will not be spending that money on diesel. Nigeria is not short of skilled man power there are a lot of competent hand in this country, all they need is enabling environment. For instance in this our warehouse, we spend close to 240 million per annual on diesel, how many companies can afford that without close down?”
He said the government plan to relocate all medicine sellers to a central coordinated area, would help control influx of fake drugs into the country.
He explained that from the company humble beginning 2002 what makes them remain relevant in the industry was because there perception of Nigeria is totally different, “many companies look at Nigeria as profit making ventures, we have never look at that during our years in the business.
“We look at the employment potential because there are so many people with talent and skills but not employed our desire is to employ as many as possible.