September 4, 2019

Phamatex decries low patronage of local pharma industry

Ogun Reps member warns Nigerians against self-medication

By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna

Phamatex: The low patronage of the local pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria has been described as one of the biggest threat to its survival.

drugs, kill, Phamatex

•Anti-Biotic Drugs

Industry watchers say urgent steps need to be taken to boost the fortunes of the industry so as to boost its potential.

A stakeholder in the industry, Prince Christopher Nebe, decried low patronage of local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies by the government.

Nebe who is the Managing Director, Phamatex Industries Limited,  disclosed that despite establishing a world-class pharmaceutical plant, the company is currently producing at 30 per cent below capacity.

According to Nebe, most pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are not breaking even today due to lack of encouragement on the part of the government and the Nigerian society as they prefer foreign-made drugs to locally produced ones.

Nebe urged the Federal government to create enabling environment for the efficient and effective operation of pharma industries.

Speaking during a forum with the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, Nebe called on government at the top to, among other things, provide soft loans, ensure zero per cent on import duties as all raw materials are imported.

He argued for an end to epileptic power supply.

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He added that for a manufacturing company to function effectively here and manufacturing with diesel, the company will be consuming like N12 million every month. We need electricity.

“We have a power plant but there was a time the Niger Delta has a problem and we started running on diesel.

“We have invested in Nigeria; it is left for the society to appreciate it and for the media to promote it. You can have everything but if nobody knows about it, you cannot function well.

“We are lagging behind due to lack of encouragement. Most Nigerians prefer foreign drugs than the one locally made not even knowing that the manufacturing indices here are better than those abroad.

We have all the standard equipment. Our lab ranks among the best in this country and labs determine everything because they are the policeman of every factor.  This is an edifice in that needs help.

“Manufacturers are not assisted or encouraged.  There is no electricity to operate.  We have our plants but you know how much it cost to get a power plant, at a point it was not working because of the Niger Delta problem and the line was off for a long time, we had to depend on diesel, which is expensive. It is very expensive to manufacture in this country.

“Last year, we lost N30 million from our capital.  Almost all the manufacturers in Nigeria are facing the same problem except those lucky to have their products picked up in the market,” he said.

On his part, the Plant Manager, Mr. Ezekiel Ibidapo said the company is pursuing product pre-qualification with the World Health Organisation for one of its products- Levofloxacin 500mg.

“The product is undergoing USP/PQM international certification for the drug and that of malaria drug, Artemether /lumefantrine 80/4080mg tablets.”