Dr Olubunmi Jetawo-Winter, the Executive Secretary of the Kwara State Health Insurance Agency on Friday submitted that out of the 180 existing pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria, only 60 are active.
Jetawo-Winter made the submission in Ilorin during her key note address at the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, (NAIP) Kwara Chapter, Week.
The theme of the Week is entitled:”Emerging Challenges in Achieving Medicine Security in Nigeria”.
She stated that while only 60 industries are in active manufacturing, others are in packaging or repackaging, adding that despite the potential capacity of the industries to produce between 50 to 75 percent of the nation’s drug needs.
“It is saddening to see products, that pharmaceutical industries have the capacity and competence to produce locally, being imported into Nigerian market.
“The country imports up to 90 percent of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (APIs) excipients, and almost all equipment used for manufacturing of drugs are also imported,” she said.
The expert opined that about 30 percent of drugs used in Nigeria, are produced locally, and the country largely depends on China and India for the remaining 70 percent.
She underscored the need for medicine security in Nigeria, while describing it as measures that are put in place to ensure that quality, efficacy, safety and sufficiency of medicines are guaranteed for defined population.
“Once produced by the manufacturer, medicines and medical consumables must meet the right standard for manufacturing.
“The integrity of such medicines and consumables, are not compromised during it’s transportation, distribution, storage, until it gets to the end user, ” she said.
Similarly, Jetawo-Winter observed that on emerging opportunities in medicine security, Nigeria has huge potential for local raw materials production, including APIs and excipients to support local manufacturing of drugs and medical consumables.
She also called for increased funding for health and improved pharmacovigilance, which she said is responsibility of every pharmacist.
Also speaking, Mr Isaac Salami, the Chairman of NAIP-Kwara Chapter explained that the three-day event was to sensitise all stakeholders on the need to produce effective, safe, affordable and readily available drugs for the state and Nigeria as a whole.
Salami appealed for political will and commitment by the government at all tiers to boost the Pharmaceutical industries in the country.
“We are calling for government assistance, as most of our Pharmaceutical ingredients are imported, including packaging,” he said.
The NAIP Chairman also advised regulatory agencies to do more in terms of helping the industries in promotion, manufacturing and safety of drugs to Nigerians.
Mr Adejuwon Otelaja, the Chairman of Phaaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kwara Chapter represented by Mrs Munirat Bello, Secretary of the association underscored the need to overcome the challenge of the sector.
He lamented that some part of the country record shortages in over-the-counter drugs, while observing that there is need for stability in the sector.
Mrs Aina Obafemi, the Past Vice Chairman of NAIP noted that the association has been in the forefront of sensitising the people on best practices regarding drugs.
She assert that members are ready to collaborate with government to ensure the industries overcome the present challenges.
According to her, government can support local manufacturers financially, and cancel double taxation which is detrimental to the growth of the sector.
Obafemi also applauded the present administration for the reform on getting forex, saying this will be good in acquiring APIs in Nigeria.