The Federal Government has pledged its commitment to facilitating an enabling environment for the production of pharmaceutical drugs in the country in order to compete effectively with other countries. Minister of State for Health, Senator Leke Mamora, yesterday, in Kaduna, at the opening of the 92nd Annual Pharmaceutical Conference, of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) identified the factors that have militated against the development of the pharmaceutical drug industry in Nigeria, which ranged from the fluctuations in the nation’s foreign exchange régime and other environment conditions.
The theme of the Conference is “Navigating the wings of Change in professional practice in a volatile economy.”Mamora said the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector in the economy should play a major role in the health and lives of the citizens, pointing out that over the years the sector had lacked behind because of the dwindling nature of the industry and economy generally.
According to him, though the pharmaceutical sector is complex and needed all hands to be on deck to resuscitate the dwindling fortune, “with the roles of manufacturers, national regulators, government ministries and other stakeholders; they must uniformly work together to achieve the full potential of the sector.”
Blaming the dwindling foreign exchange régime in the poor state of providing the necessary inputs for local manufacturers in the pharmaceutical sector, Mamora said: “This has been a volatile factor in the economy in protecting the Industry and which results in the shortages of raw materials as well as guarantee a stable supply chain.”
He explained that the situation that the pharmaceutical industry had been confronted with led “to a national shortage of quality sale and affordable supply of medicine for the populace”, adding that “the Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector has a low penetration into the global market hence the need to improve on quality and standard of the production of drugs in order to meet up with the international acceptable standard and facilitate competition with countries such as China, India, Turkey and others.”
The Minister further argued that to develop the sector in order to meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard and for the production of indigenous products in the industry, “there is need to increase financial support to the sector to aid technological advancement if we must complete internationally.”
Senator Mamora further stated that the Federal Ministry of Health, through its agencies would continue to facilitate an enabling environment for pharmaceutical companies operating in Nigeria in order to minimize the effects of the fluctuations in the economy.
Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, in his address, commended the role pharmacists play in the nation’s health sector and said that the government is already planning to establish a pharmaceutical company, which will provide employment opportunity to millions of Nigerians in the State.
According to him, the government has also opened will soon employ about 3,000 medical personnel in its health sector in order to expand access to health facilities for the people in the State.President of PSN, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, commended Governor El-Rufai for ensuring peace to prevail in the State and guarantying the ease of doing business.
Guest Speaker at the conference, Prof. Pat Utomi, however, blamed the unfavorable economic conditions in the country for the poor state of the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria, saying that unless government improves the dwindling state of the economy the present situation of the industry may not change.
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