August 29, 2019

We `ll not allow Nigeria to be dumping ground for foreign drugs – Minister

Olorunimbe Mamora, chemotherapy, Cancer

Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, says Federal Government will not allow other countries to turn Nigeria into dumping ground for foreign drugs, hence its commitment to homegrown drugs.

Olorunimbe Mamora

Mamora made the assertion on Wednesday at a two-day 5th Nigeria Pharm Manufacturers Expo 2019- an international exhibition on COMPLETE pharma manufacturing- in Lagos.

It was organised by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN).

“We are not just talking about drugs sufficiency, we are talking about homegrown; that is looking at what we have on the ground to get the best out of the system and this is very important.

“Oftentimes, in some of our hospitals, you hear out of stock. We need to look at what is available to us and make the best out of it.

“We cannot allow other countries to turn Nigeria into dumping ground for these drugs,” Mamora said.

According to him, the Federal Government has seen demonstrable abilities of her regulatory agencies and establishments to prevent dumping of these foreign drugs in Nigeria.

“Let us make use of what we have; let us also reach out, even to the herbal practitioners.

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“All we want to be sure of is to establish the efficacy and the safety of the drugs available,” Mamora said.

The minister said that he had seen a lot of technologies that would aid the attainment of the nation’s dream.

On the nation’s preparation about the outbreak of diseases like Ebola, the minister assured Nigerians that relevant agencies of government were doing the needful in terms of surveillance, monitoring and proactiveness.

Mamora, also a former Speaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, urged stakeholders in the health sector to work together for the upliftment of the sector.

He said that the manufacturers’ expo provided the needed opportunity for the industry to engage stakeholders and encourage further development of local manufacturing of drugs.

Mamora said that President Muhammadu Buhari had rolled out basic healthcare provision funds early in the year which was one per cent of the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue.

“There is a need for strategic collaboration among stakeholders in achieving this laudable objective.

“PMG MAN must have a critical role to play in the area of supply chain management of basic healthcare provision fund in the delivery of medicines to the primary healthcare centres.

“It has, therefore, become imperative to adopt the concept of medicine security and national sufficiency. We must start focussing on the homegrown solutions,” the minister said.

He assured stakeholders in the industry of Buhari’s commitment to revive local manufacturing through a multi-sectoral approach, saying that the Federal Ministry of Health would collaborate with the sister ministries.

Also, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, stressed the need for stakeholders to demonstrate their readiness for drugs security.

Adeyeye said, “NAFDAC is ready; we have a strong regulatory system.

“It is time we get ready. If we are not ready, the consequence can be very great. Our goal is to strengthen local manufacturing.”

The director-general cautioned stakeholders against activities that could compromise the image of the country or cause the death of customers.

In his remarks, Prince Orimadegun Agboade, the Chairman, Planning Committee for the Expo, said that Nigeria should be showcasing what it has, not minding the fact that it needed some help outside.

He listed the challenges facing the industry to include: lack of capacity to produce machines, funding, drug trafficking, porous border, and infrastructures such as power, road, water and others.

“We are highly disadvantaged. We should be determined to start somewhere. We can be there,” Agboade, also the Managing Director, Orfema Pharmaceutical Industry Ltd., said.

The committee chairman said that drugs remained a major security threat to the nation, adding 120 foreign companies and 50 local companies were participating in the two-day-Expo.