National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says it is working to ensure that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector drives socio-economic development in the country. The Director-General (DG) of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said “we want to ensure that the pharma sector begins to kickstart socio-economic development in Nigeria, and we have started to do that.
“NIPRD is the agency articulating pharma sector discussions on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) agreement.
“Our input contributed to the reasons why Mr. President signed that agreement.”
Adigwe said that NIPRD planned to control a majority of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical market in Africa.
He added that Nigeria was endowed with good climatic conditions and numerous natural plants that could translate into medicinal and economic values, noting that NIPRD had already developed several pharmaceutical products that would impact positively on the health sector when they got to the market.
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He explained that “NIPRD is supposed to be the hub of all research that relates to pharma, food, commodities, and development of natural resources that will bring out products that will impact on Africa’s healthcare.
“Nigeria is richly blessed with a considerable amount of plants that have ethnomedicinal and ethno-pharmaceutical properties.
“The country also has different climatic zones that provide unique conditions for the growth of high-quality plants.
“We at NIPRD already have about eight different, fully developed products and about 23 on the pipeline; products for treating malaria, diabetes, tuberculosis, and for dermatitis.”
He, however, clarified that NIPRD was confronting the challenge of making its pharmaceutical products available to Nigerians.
“It is one thing to have a product that is the output of research; it is another thing to take the product to the market.
“There is still a bit of work to be done to get to the stage where people will walk to the stores and buy our products.
“Our biggest challenge is funding and we have started reaching out to some partners and potential investors, foundations and development bodies that can help to push the products along.
“We are also reaching out to the legislature about how we can push these products that will improve healthcare and also improve our economic indices.
“If our funding profile improves, we will push those products to the markets, but until Nigeria gets a big slice of Africa’s 50 billion dollars pharmaceutical market, NIPRD will not be satisfied.”
The director-general said that the institute was also collaborating with some Nigerian universities for greater impact in the field of pharmacy.
He said our engagement with universities is to help them to translate their research into impact.
“We are helping, at least, one university to set up their faculty of pharmacy. Such a faculty, when set up, will be most responsive to the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector.”
He added that NIPRD was also consolidating its partnership with some state governments to tap into their natural endowments for health and economic advancement.
He explained that a Contextual Processing Protocol (CPP) had been developed to create ease for harnessing natural resources across the country.
“We have moved along with Kaduna State and we are now screening a shop list of investors that will move their eucalyptus forward. We are also still engaging the Katsina State Government.
“The CPP is a unique project which we developed in 2018, and it is focused on using research to start harnessing natural resources that we have across the country.
“About 8000 plants in Nigeria have potentials for strong ethno-pharmaceutical products. What the CPP is doing is mapping out those products according to states and developing a framework that will enable the institute to harness those products in collaboration with the state governments and people in those localities.
“In the process, we will ensure capacity building element in the CPP, there will be revenue generation, there will be knowledge transfer and there will be job creation.