.task FG on medicine security
By Chioma Obinna
Nigerian industrial Pharmacists weekend decried absence of medicine security in the country, saying “only 25 percent of the total medicines used in the country are indigenously manufactured despite government policy that 70 percent of medicines should be manufactured in-country.
Announcing its forthcoming 21st Annual National Conference billed to hold in Kwara, 17th April through 20th April, 2018, the industrial pharmacists under the auspices of Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, NAIP, urged government to enact policies that would guarantee medicines security.
Speaking, the National Chairman, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu who described the environment in which they practice as ‘strangulating’ said water was the only local content that goes into medicines produced in Nigeria while other materials are imported.
Anukwu who noted that Nigeria depend largely on imported medicines for about 80 percent of medicines needs, declared that government has failed to give adequate protection to indigenous pharmaceutical companies.
“The government has not given the industry reasonable patronage over the years. Where they did, the companies have been owed months even years. As we speak, some of the companies have been owed for five years following supplies made to government.
“Notwithstanding, Nigeria Pharmaceutical industry has a potential market value of between U$800 million and more than U$2billion annually.”
Expressing hope that the Dangote Petrochemical plant under construction would help the industry, he stressed the need for a road-map to reposition the country for self sufficiency in the production of essential medicines by 2035.
Hinting that the conference entitled: “Imperatives for National Drug security” would be delivered by the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Christianah Adeyeye; he expressed worry over the rising cases and reports of drug abuse and addictions in the country.
He blamed the rising cases on poor enforcement of drug policies, adding that during the conference, the association will embark on a walk against drug abuse and addiction in order to educate members of the public on how to combat it.
Corroborating his views, NAIP Director of Programs, Pharm. Ikenna Orakwue, explained that the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, NDDG, if implemented would reduce the incidence of drug abuse.
Ikenna said it would further help to keep drugs in the custody of Pharmacists and prescription would be used to dispense drugs.
On his part, NAIP Director of Media & publicity, Pharm. John Adekoje noted that if NDDG is implemented, it would also help to monitor drug distribution and usage, collate proper data on the problems. He regretted that years back there were records on drug distribution in the country, adding that drug abuse rose due to absence of monitoring.