FG to Issue Executive Order Reducing Medicines’ Costs, Boosts Local Pharma Manufacturing

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Tinubu has no health challenge: Fani-Kayode
Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu

The Federal Government is set to issue an executive order, aimed at slashing hike in essential medicines prices, as well as create a conductive environment for local pharmaceutical manufacturers to thrive, said the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Ali Pate.

Pate, who briefed pressmen at the conclusion of the first FEC of 2024, presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the State House, Abuja, disclosed the interest of Mr President in relieving the agonies of citizens over exorbitant prices of life-saving medicines and commodities, like syringes and needles, since the exit of major companies from the Nigerian market.

The decision to issue an executive order, according to the minister, was just one out of the three approvals the President made towards boosting the health sector in 2024. He said the two other directives issued by Tinubu to revamp the sector have to do with the protection of the health and well being of humans and dealing with brain drain.

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The minister noted that the Executive Order aims to enable local drug manufacturers to thrive, while ensuring fair pricing of essential medicines explaining that this became necessary following the exit of major multinational pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, reducing competition.

“Consistent with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which puts to the human capital, health and social welfare of Nigerians at the centre, today at the Federal Executive Council, Mr President took three far-reaching decisions relating to the health sector.

“The first is on the rising cost of pharmaceuticals, the hike in prices that we have in the pharmaceutical, which is going beyond the reach of many Nigerians, life-saving commodities, devices like syringes and needles and the exit of major companies from our market.

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“Those decisions also include the regulation of the sector to protect the health and well being of humans and the third decision is regarding how we deal with the crisis of human resources in the health sector.

“The third is regarding the acute human resource shortage that we have. We know and having gone around many of our hospitals, particularly federal tertiary hospitals, the replacement of health workers that leave oftentimes takes a very long time because waiver process takes several stages” Pate revealed.

Regarding the first decision, on syringes, drugs, pharmaceuticals and other devices, Pate recalled how Mr President, at the end of last year, in October, precisely, approved an initiative to unlock the healthcare value-chain and appointed coordinator for that. He admitted that many local pharma manufacturers are struggling due to many negative market forces.

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In salvaging the situation, he mentioned that the President has called for immediate actions to be taken in empowering local drug manufacturers to thrive and to deliver the basic commodities that are crucial for human survival and well-being.

Pate also hinted on how the President has instructed the approval of waivers for the immediate replacement of health workers who have left the shores of the country and those who have retired.

“Mr President directed in council that the approvals of those waivers be delegated to the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare so that it doesn’t have to go through the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

“That will hasten the recruitment of health workers in terms of those who are out there unemployed”, he disclosed.

 

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