Following the continuous dwindling of the Nigerian economy, with its many resultant effects, industrial pharmacists recently assembled in Lagos to find lasting strategies that can be adopted to ensure that the nation’s pharmaceutical industry survives.
The gathering was the maiden edition of the Biennial Lecture Series of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) and the theme of the maiden lecture series is “Dwindling Economy: What’s next for the Pharmaceutical Industry in Nigeria”.
While speaking at the event, the former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was the chairman of the occasion noted that the question of what is next for pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria has been on the front burner for a long time and the current topic is a refresher of the subject. He said he has been making efforts to ensure that Pharmacy succeeds, not just at the industrial level but also at the retail level, adding that he has confidence that Pharmacy will succeed in Nigeria.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, pointed out that Nigeria’s economy is currently facing challenge, but anything that has beginning must have an end. The former health minister noted that there is hope for the industry and every pharmacist in the country has reason to be happy, noting that the signing of the Pharmacy Bill into law calls for happy moment for the industry.“With the signing of the Bill into law, there must be a breakthrough for the profession”, he said.
According to him, there have been promises by ministers and the government towards the advancement of the industry over the years, but why the industry has not worked as expected is because of many challenges bedeviling it. He however pointed out that only pharmacists themselves can make the industry work.
He therefore called for concerted effort by stakeholders in the industry to redefine the strategy for local manufacturing and also reformulate the way to execute the appropriate measures that will enhance the industry to thrive in the face of the dwindling economy.
Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi said “there is more to Pharmacy than pharmacists, just as there is more to banking than bankers; there is also more to law than lawyers; there is equally more to medicine than doctors; so we would no longer work in silos as a professional group, we should network with the kind of Act we now have and make sure we do every necessary thing that we need to do to actualize our vision through networking.
“I also want to say to all pharmacists in Nigeria, that we must all have positive mindset towards the practice of this profession. To be a millionaire, you must think like a millionaire, to be a successful pharmacist, you begin to think like one. When you are looking for something you will get it. If you want to sing, you can always get a song to sing. Whatever that needs to be done should be done”.
On his part, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, said various industries are currently passing through a lot of difficulties including the pharmaceutical industry. He called for an urgent support for local drug manufacturers to ensure that quality locally made drugs are available for Nigerians affordable rates. He also reiterated the need for thorough networking to get the industry to the peak.
The Chairman of the association, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu, on his part said the essence of the lecture is to enable stakeholders discuss and fashion out realistic ways to deal with contemporary issues facing industrial pharmacists and the nation generally. He noted that though the Nigerian economy is facing a difficult time, the economic challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that there is always a solution to every challenge.
Onuegbu averred that the present time is the time players in the industry should go back home and think properly to see how cost of operation can be reduced and then scale up the effectiveness of the operation team. He called on players in the industry to adopt a surviving strategy to scale through the nation’s current economic turbulent. He also expressed optimism that the current economic challenges will definitely go down in no distant time.
The keynote speaker at the event, who is the Managing Director, Access Bank PLC, Mr Roosevelt Ogbonna, ably represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Mrs Chizoma Okoli, stated that there are always opportunities in calamity, insisting that there are opportunities in the current Nigerian dwindling economy.
He called on stakeholders in the industry to leverage on the opportunities at this period to enable the industry thrive. He recommended that pharmaceutical companies should consider merging, stressing that acquisition and collaboration are some of the major strategies that will help the pharma industry to thrive and overcome the current economic crunch.
He said “merger and acquisition is a key strategy to consider to achieve the aspiration of the industry. Merger and acquisition do work. Various companies should consolidate in order to be able to compete more at the global level. I admit that the government needs to support the industry with provision of policy and availability of forex but the industry needs to play its part. Stakeholders should always have it in mind that 10% of 1000 is better than 100% of 10”.
Another vital move that will help the pharmaceutical industry thrive in the current dwindling economy, according to the speaker, is to ensure an increase in the numbers of manufacturing companies and the volume of production. He also called on all the stakeholders in the industry not just to have aspiration but to also pursue it.
“What is your aspiration for the industry? You need to have global aspiration while still playing at the local level. Stakeholders in the industry also need to collaborate and I believe all these will be a game changer for the pharmaceutical industry in the face of the current dwindling economic”, Ogbonna said.
NAIP also used the occasion to inaugurate members of its board of trustee with Prof. Lere Baale as its chairman. The association also recognised some personalities in the industry with various awards. The Chairman/Founder, Juhel Pharma Nigeria Limited, Pharm. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okoye, bagged the association’s Icon of Pharmacy Award, 2022; while Pharm. Igwe Alexander Uzo Onyido and the Senior Vice-President for West Africa and Integrated Commercial Solution Worldwide Healthcare Limited, Mr Santosh Kumar M, received NAIP’s Outstanding Leadership Award 2022.
Also, the Managing Director, Embassy Pharmaceuticals Limited, Pharm. Nnamdi Obi and the immediate past Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu were honoured with Distinguished Service Award 2022. In the same vein, the Managing Director, Miraflash Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Moses Olurotimi Oluwalade and the Managing Director, Megachem Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Sam Ubachukwu bagged the NAIP Eminent Person Award 22.