By Sola Ogundipe
Nigerian pharmacists have called for technological enhancement of local drug production towards advancing pharmacy practice and medicine security in the country.
The pharmacists, who gathered in Lagos during the 24th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, NAIP, agreed that without technological improvement, the nation’s pharmaceutical sector would remain moribund.
In his charge to the conference with the theme: “Technological Revolution – Adaptation in Industrial Pharmacy Practice”, globally acclaimed Nigerian pharmacist and former Minister for Health and Social Services, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi urged industrial pharmacists to embrace technological innovation towards driving the future of pharmacy in Nigeria.
Adelusi-Adeluyi, who is the President of the Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy, stressed that without technological advancement, the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry would be left behind.
Speaking at the conference, he admonished captains of the pharmaceutical industry, to encourage upcoming and technologically savvy pharmacists to get involved in activities of the health sector.
“If you are an analog person in a digital world, you will be left behind by the train of development,” Adelusi-Adeluyi remarked.
In his keynote address, the President of the Industrial Pharmacy Section of the International Pharmaceutical Federation, Pharm Sola Solarin, called for what he described as “revolution of the mind” among pharmacists if they are to remain relevant professionally.
His words: “Our practice requires that we remain humble and exploit the knowledge of other professionals to remain relevant.
“The contribution of the pharmaceutical industry to Nigeria’s GDP is still lower than 0.25 percent, it is up to 20 percent in the Republic of Ireland. Until we increase the size of the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria, politicians and the investment community will not take us seriously. The most important revolution we need to take us there is the revolution of the mind.” Calling for a break away from the shackles that make pharmacists define Nigeria as their total market, the keynote speaker said NAIP was by far the biggest and most sophisticated powerhouse in the pharmaceutical industry in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We have the prospect of quadrupling our market by simply defining it as Africa. We have the advantage of propinquity, culture, race, and geopolitics in our favour.”
Solarin said the plan to harmonise registration of regulated products among the 54 countries in Africa through the African Medicine Agency, and the ambition to turn the entire continent into a free trade area will enable NAIP’s entry into Africa.
We also have at least 3 functioning WHO prequalified facilities in Nigeria presently. A WHO prequalification is as good as FDA, or EMA certification. Why are companies with such certifications not including the US and Europe as potential markets. A potential market of $1.5b suddenly explodes 700-fold to about $1 trillion.
According to him, freeing the minds also requires the identification of trends and catch the waves early enough.
On his own part, the National Chairman, NAIP, Pharm Ignatius Anukwu said the theme drawn from the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria conference theme of 2020, sets the tone for the pharmaceutical industry to embrace technological innovation in order to attain the next industrial level.
“This year’s conference is a logical continuation of our thought process, starting from 2017. We have mobilised membership from across the country. We have raised the brand equity of NAIP. “We have entered into strategic partnerships. We have perfected our plans on our major initiative. Now, we need to take the next critical bold steps.”