Industrial Pharmacists Examine Challenges, Opportunities in Essential Drug Production

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… As NAIP holds 25th Annual National Conference

Industrial Pharmacists Examine Challenges, Opportunities in Essential Dug Production
A cross session of dignitaries at the NAIP conference

Following the downward trend of the Nigerian economy, industrial pharmacists in the country assembled on Wednesday to examine the challenges and opportunities before them even as they strive to provide essential drugs for the Nigerian citizens.

The gathering was the 25th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP). The theme of the conference is “The Role of Industrial Pharmacists in a Depressed Economy: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions in Providing Essential Drugs”.

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, a former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, lamented the current state of the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector, saying the industry relied on importation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and excipients. “We can’t continue like this. We need to address the several challenges facing us”, Yakasai said.

According to the former PSN president, the challenges facing the industry includes infrastructural decadence, lack of power, lack of fund, insufficient data as well as unavailability of petrochemical industry that can produce raw materials among others. He urged all industrial pharmacists to study the history of Indian pharmaceutical industry so that they can apply their strategies to develop the pharma sector.

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The Keynote Speaker, Pharm. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okoye, MD, Juhel Nigeria Ltd, while delivering his keynote address explained that a depressed economy is a period of sustained economic slowdown or more severe than a recession, which is a mere slow downturn in economic activities over the course of a normal business cycle which leads to rise in poverty.

The industrial pharmacist, according to the speaker is an expert in drugs, who engages in the research, testing, and analysis related to the development, production, storage, quality control and distribution of drugs and related substances. He pointed out that the COVID-19 has posed a serious problem leading to the current depressed economy in the country.

While there are several challenges currently confronting drug production in the country, he noted that there are several opportunities that industrial pharmacists need to explore. Dr Okoye however called on all industrial pharmacists to cooperate while also calling on the regulatory agencies to regulate in way that will encourage drug manufacturers in the country. He also called on the government.

“At $2.5BN, the Nigerian pharma market has the potential to hold about 40 per cent of the African pharma market. To achieve this, it is essential that the NAIP, PMG-MAN, ACPN should work as a team, collaborate, cooperate and carry out healthy competition that promotes quality and growth. Health is wealth; a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Nigeria cannot achieve an acceptable health policy without the easy availability of essential drugs, which can only be made possible by the Nigerian association of industrial pharmacists in cooperation with other pharmacy practitioners”, the speaker said.

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Also speaking in his presentation titled professional collaboration and coordination as a panacea to industrial growth, the vice-chancellor Nnamdi Azikwe University, Prof. Charles Esimone pointed out that unless the various technical sectors in the pharmaceutical industry collaborate, the industry cannot get anywhere.

He noted that NAIP has been collaborating with the pharmacists in academia, noting that the collaboration has given birth to some products. He therefore called for more of such collaborations between the industrial pharmacists and those in the academia.

Earlier in his remarks, the National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu said the association will not relent until it achieve its set objectives to take the industry to greater height.

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Pharm. Onuegbu noted that his led executives have been channeling its talk on some endeavours in the last one year when they came on board which include the NAIP House Estate in Ogun State, the Pharma Park in Ebonyi State, promotion of drug/medicine security in the country, support for local contract manufacturing, API production in the country, NAIP House project as well as pharmaceutical products marketing regulation among others.

“We are not going to relent until we have addressed the challenges posed by the above talking points and ensured that we successfully move every item above to victory lap”, the NAIP Chairman said.

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Professor Moji Adeyeye, who was represented at the event by Pharm. Ijeoma Nwankwo as well as the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Babashehu Ahmed who was also represented by Pharm. (Dr) Ukamaka Okafor presented goodwill messages at the event, so also did the President of PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh.

 

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