Local Manufacturers Need More Support to Meet NAFDAC Guidelines– MD, Bond

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Pharm. Remi Omotosho

Bond Chemical Industries Limited has been a leading player in the Nigerian pharmaceutical landscape and has continued to record successes in its healthcare solutions journey in the country and beyond. In this exclusive interview with PATRICK IWELUNMOR, the Managing Director of the company, Pharm. Remi Omotosho, who recently clocked 50, shares his thoughts on the peculiarities of pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria. He also reveals how the country can attain medicine security through adherence to requisite regulations and guidelines. EXCERPTS:

Congratulations, sir, on your 50th birthday. Can you tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming the managing director of Bond Chemical Industries Limited?

I thank God for His mercies and for attaining this landmark age. I am a native of Awe, in Oyo State. I was born in Lagos on 4 May, 1973, into the family of Asiwaju Theophilus Adebowale Omotosho. I had my early education at Command Secondary School, Ikeja, and the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, Kaduna State, respectively. This foundation prepared me for a lifestyle of Spartan discipline.

I later proceeded to Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, where I graduated with honors from the Faculty of Pharmacy. I also obtained MBA from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Nigeria.

I started my professional career at Mopson Pharmaceutical Limited Lagos and later joined Bond Chemical Industries Limited in 2000. Through dedication and hard work over the years, I ultimately assumed the position of managing director in 2005.

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What would you say are the most important factors that have kept Bond going all these years?

The Nigerian pharmaceutical industry is very challenging and dynamic. In order to keep going, we have been consistent in maintaining quality, adhering to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)  and we have continued to identify needs and meeting those needs by releasing products into the market that have been successful.

 What is the philosophy driving your operations at Bond?

At Bond, we give hope. That is our slogan and we intend to keep it that way by continuously giving hope of a healthier life through the usage of our highly efficacious, affordable and accessible commodities at any time. This is my passion. We ensure that through every of our product consumed, a patient somewhere is getting better, health-wise; hence we strive to produce new and existing products to achieve this goal.

As a manufacturer located in the south-west region of the country, specifically in Awe, Oyo State, how have you been coping with the challenges of transportation, fakery, adulteration, and others?

Transportation has really been an issue with the increased energy cost and occasional fuel scarcity. The organisation has devised a means of transporting both finished goods and raw materials in one trip of movement, thereby maximising the productivity of the vehicles and driver.

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Due to constant monitoring and surveillance from our network of dedicated customers, fakery and adulterations have been checked, coupled with the use of technology, introduced by NAFDAC.

Infrastructural problems, power issues, and the high cost of foreign exchange are some of the issues facing the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. Which of these issues do you think should be tackled mainly by the government?

Power and availability of forex are issues that the government should tackle head on, as these were not much of an issue several years ago. Hence, the government should create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to succeed.

How can Nigeria attain a healthy balance between local drug production and importation? Is banning the importation of a wide range of drugs a solution to issues militating against local drug manufacturing?

Local drug production should be encouraged, as this will enhance drug security. During the COVID 19 era, due to travel restrictions, imported products were scarce. In order to avoid a repeat of such experience, local drug production should be sustained, especially for products that we have the capacity to manufacture locally. This will, in the long run, discourage drug importation and encourage local manufacturers.

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Total banning of imported products may not be the immediate solution; rather, continuous insistence that imported products in high demand should be locally manufactured would be a good direction.

NAFDAC has maintained that it will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that pharmaceutical manufacturers abide by its GMP guidelines. What are your sincere thoughts on this?

This is good news and we give kudos to NAFDAC. NAFDAC has continuously been improving on its mandate, especially in the area of GMP, and this has impacted the products being released by local manufacturers into market. More support should be given to local manufacturers in terms of capacity building/training of stakeholders and support in accessing equipment and machineries that would further help local manufacturers not only to abide by NAFDAC guidelines but to surpass them.

What more should we be expecting from Bond in terms of new products and innovations before the end of 2023?

Bond Chemical Industries Limited will continue to do more in the pharmaceutical space by introducing new molecules into the market. Before the end of the year, expect new creams, antibiotics, drugs for non-communicable disease therapies, etc.

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