By Chioma Obinna
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN has appealed to the Federal Government to extend the recent import waiver on medical supplies by President Mohammadu Buhari to all essential drugs and not only those related to COVID-19.
Stating this in Lagos, the President of the PSN, Pharm. Sam Ohuabunwa said the extension of the waiver to all essential drugs was necessary since there is no establish treatment protocol all over the world for the novel coronavirus.
Stating that clinicians have continued to employ combinations of a different drug regimen to treat the manifested symptoms, Ohuabunwa maintained that the extension should be effected to all as most of the repurposed medications are already in use by other patients leading to pressure on the supply chain thereby instigating price increase.
“Nigerians who are on lockdown have reduced disposable income to buy medicines. The government is giving food palliative but no medicine palliative. Removing duties and levies on all essential medicines will be one way to provide a medical palliative for the Nigerian poor.
“Finally, the most vulnerable for COVID-19 infection, the aged population, already have some underlying chronic diseases and are on essential medicines like antidiabetics, antihypertensive, and anticancer medications.”
He added that with the blow of the COVID-19 on the world’s economy, Nigerians would find it difficult to maintain optimal health if the entire cost of medication is unleashed on them.
The PSN president commended President Buhari for the timely interventions and implored him to ensure strict implementation of the order, adding that PSN would not hesitate to point the way to other low hanging fruits towards the realisation of the world’s best practices in pharmaceutical care.
He said the pharmaceutical industry welcomed with utmost delight and satisfaction the order by the President, for a blanket waiver on medical supplies and expedited clearing of all imported health care equipment, medical and pharmaceutical supplies at the ports.
He recalled that the PSN had earlier appreciate the CBN on the 100 Billion intervention funds to the Pharmaceutical industries for growth stimulation and also appealed to the President for import duty waiver for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and speedy clearing of pharmaceuticals from the nation’s ports as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic.