The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has expressed strong support for the efforts by Sanofi, a multinational healthcare company, to manufacture some of its life-saving drugs locally. The company recently signed an agreement with a Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing company, May and Baker, to produce a range of its drugs.
Speaking at the contract signing in Lagos, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, described the occasion as a special day for Nigeria, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and all technical arms of PSN, which have kept advocating for local production of essential drugs. She commended the two companies for taking the giant steps to provide made-in-Nigeria medicines that are of safe, effective and of high-quality standards.
Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director, Registration & Regulatory Directorate, Dr. Monica Eimunjeze, recalled that one of the plans of the Africa Union (AU) under the Lead Partnership for Africa’s Development, is a pharmaceutical manufacturing plan for Africa, to which Nigeria is a signatory. The plan recommends that Africa manufactures and produces medicines for Africa.
“NAFDAC is very proud when we stand with Sanofi, May & Baker, anyone or company that propagates high quality and safe medicines. We are even prouder when these medicines are manufactured in Nigeria. We expect to see more of this kind of partnership and more locally-manufactured medicines that meet global quality standards,” the NAFDAC DG said.
The President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa who chaired the occasion, noted that Nigeria had since 1995 adopted a policy to manufacture at least 70 per cent of its essential medicines locally. He commended Sanofi and May & Baker for taking the initiative and called on more companies to join the train. “We should not deceive ourselves to think that we can have every product manufactured locally; we don’t have the technology, the capacity and the resources. But we can begin to do something and work towards the target set by stakeholders at a roundtable held last year that 50 per cent of our essential medicines be produced locally by 2020,” he said.
The General Manger Rx and Country Chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm Folake Odediran, the pact is the company’s way of helping to actualise the Federal Government’s policy on national drug security through self-sufficiency in supply of essential medicines. “At Sanofi, we understand that local sourcing of essential medicines is central to achieving government’s objectives. We remain committed to this noble aspiration. Today, the formal signing of a manufacturing agreement with May & Baker Nigeria Plc is proof of our commitment to localisation. We will continue to contribute our quota towards availability of very efficacious, high-quality made-in-Nigeria medicines. Building strategic partnership with May & Baker Nigeria Plc to support our local manufacturing ambitions is based on its (M&B) rich history of producing high quality medicines in Nigeria. It also follows rigorous due-diligence exercise and successful compliance outcomes in line with local laws and our global policies,” Odediran explained.
The Managing Director/CEO of May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, described the event as a formal ceremony because the two companies had been working together for many years. “We began this collaboration with two products but today Sanofi has increased the number to five, an indication that the partnership is working. And I make bold to assure them they will be impressed enough to increase the basket of products to be manufactured by us,” he said.
Okafor said May & Baker now has the largest pharmaceutical facilities in the West African sub region, the May & Baker Pharmacentre, which was commissioned in 2011 and GMP-certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2014. “It was an expensive and challenging project but looking at the industry today and the number of similar projects that dot the pharmaceutical manufacturing landscape, we feel justified for taking the bold step. The Centre offers other services such as product formulation and consultancy in quality assurance. The capacity of the Pharmacentre remains underutilized and our doors are open to accommodate other international brands that will like to heed the call for localization of production,” he said.
The event was also attended by the President, Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM), Mr. Femi Soremekun and the Executive Secretary, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Mr. Frank Muonemeh. Both men, who are association leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, expressed satisfaction that their commitment to local production of medicines in Nigeria has become a reality.
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