By Sola Ogundipe
THE Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, NAIP, a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, has renewed its call to the Federal government to set up pharmaceutical industrial hubs in the country to boost fortunes of the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
Making the call in Lagos during the Association’s 2019 CEO’s Forum, a public health consultant and Chief of Party, Promoting the Quality of Medicines, PQM, Prof Chimezie Anyakora described pharma hubs as catalysts for change.
His words: ”Setting up pharmaceutical industrial hubs in Nigeria, would promote cheaper cost of manufacturing, better quality due to better regulation, more direct foreign partnership and investment and help in avoiding the mistakes of the oil sector, among others.”
He listed benefits of developing the local pharma manufacturing to include the growth of the number of pharmaceutical manufacturers with international GMP; improved production competencies and efficiencies; increased volume of drugs procured by local and international procurement agencies and reduction of dependence on Asian producers.
Anyakora argued that setting up pharma hubs would help in attracting foreign direct investment and technology and catalysing the formation of partnerships and joint ventures, reversing the brain drain as diaspora Nigerians with expertise come back to capitalise on opportunities and sector and cluster development opportunities.
“There would be public health benefits from an increased supply of high quality medicines and pressure on the educational systems leading to development of appropriate curricula, strengthening industry-academia partnerships and moving into Research and Development, among other benefits.”
Calling for a revolution in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, the PSN President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa said setting up pharma hubs would revolutionise the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
“A revolution in the pharmaceutical sector is desirable. Such revolution
is required to change things. We must be dissatisfied with what we are doing currently, and angry with what we are doing so that we can change it. That is the revolution we are talking about.”
In the views of the Chairman, Embassy Pharmacy, Sir Nnamdi Obi, the forum was put together to rub minds on how best to explore the enormous potentials within the pharmaceutical sector for the common benefits of Nigerians.
“One of the critical issues being discussed is having Nigeria as a pharmaceutical hub for Africa and the world at large. This is to explore the possibilities of seeing how best pharmaceutical products manufactured in Nigeria can be marketed using examples like the Ethiopian model that have a cluster of pharmaceutical companies.
Also speaking, the National Chairman, NAIP, Pharm Ignatious Anukwu said the best way to enhance fortunes of the pharmaceutical industry is by having pharma manufacturing clusters or pharmaceutical parks so that all manufacturers can come together in one place and share this infrastructure that have been too expensive for Nigerians
“As we know, there is infrastructural decay in the country, so power is very expensive, transportation is a problem, water is a problem andall of that. What is presently happening is that for every company that sets up in Nigeria to meet up with the GMP standard, you must have enough power for your plant, water treated to a certain level, and effluent plant and all of that.
So what we are saying is if we have 20 or 30 of such companies coming together they will now act as one, so they will share resources, so costs will be reduced, the input of power in production and all of that will be reduced.