Over-Dependence on India, China Soon to be Over, Says Anyakora

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– As NIPRD, NAPPSA, Emzor laud PMVCM launch

It was indeed an atmosphere of intellectual engagements and cross-fertilisation of ideas, as Bloom Public Health recently launched what many have described as the biggest pharmaceutical manufacturing blueprint in Africa, at the Lagos Business School, Ajah, Lagos.

Tagged Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Value Chain Mapping (PMVCM), the blueprint’s launch attracted an outpouring of plaudits and backings from players in the pharmaceutical and health sectors.

During his presentation at the event, CEO of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie Anyakora, outlined the core benefits that the implementation of the PMVCM would bring to the Nigerian pharmaceutical space, adding that one of the primary objectives of the project is to optimise the potentials of Nigeria, in terms of capacity to access the basic requirements that will make its pharmaceutical landscape independent of foreign influence. This, he said, will put Nigeria at an advantaged position in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Chimezie Anyakore

Highlighting the roles of government, manufacturers, investors and regulators in the success of the project, the don expressed confidence that the PMVCM, when executed, will make Nigeria a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa. He also stated that the overdependence on India and China for pharmaceutical raw materials will witness a drastic reduction, as the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Nigeria begins to attract more forex inflow

Speaking via Zoom, President of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSSA), Dr Anthony Ikeme, bemoaned Nigeria’s perennial dependence on foreign countries for its pharmaceutical raw materials, adding that such a situation makes the country powerless in the scheme of things.

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Lamenting the sad reality of India and China controlling the Nigerian pharmaceutical market, Ikeme averred that the country needs a deliberate plan and strategy to mitigate against the risks of relying on other countries for APIs and expertise.

He added that, with a strong base of Nigerian community pharmacists in the United States, the country possesses the necessary expertise to catalyse the process of establishing itself as a major hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa.

On his part, the Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr Obi Adigwe, observed that despite the over 50 billion dollars’ worth of the pharmaceutical manufacturing market in Africa, it is difficult to point to any African country that can be referred to as a hub in the continent.

He noted that the PMCVM by Bloom Public Health in conjunction with the Lagos Busness School LBS), when fully implemented, will become the most significant thing to happen to the pharmacy space in Africa.

Throwing her support to the project, Chief Executive Officer of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Dr Stella Okoli, lauded the initiative by Bloom Public Health and the Lagos Business School, describing it as a welcome development that will augur well for the Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing atmosphere. She also promised her full support towards its success.

While calling for the enshrinement of local production in the project, Dr Amaka Okafor, who represented the Registrar of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), said there cannot be any meaningful development without research. She reiterated PCN’s readiness to always support developmental projects such as the PMVCM.

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The Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Pharm Frank Muoneme, while stressing his organisation’s commitment towards ensuring that Nigeria attains medicine security, stated that untapped potentials abound in the country’s pharmaceutical sector. He lauded Bloom Public Health and the LBS for putting up the PMVCM, which he said is aimed at proffering solutions to the local manufacturing value chain.

Those who promised to support and help in raising funds for the successful execution of the project include, Dr Njide Ndili, country director of PharmAccess; and Kate Isa, chairman, Katchey Laboratories Limited.

Dr Franklin Ngwu, Faculty, Strategy, Corporate Governance and Risk Management of the Lagos Business School and his team of young and innovative executives represented the Lagos Business School.

Below are excerpts of the interview that Pharmanews had with Professor Anyakora on the project launch:

What is the primary objective of the PMVCM?

Primarily, PMVCM when executed, will create a good environment for local pharmaceutical manufacturing. Currently, all the support systems for pharmaceutical manufacturing are not available locally. So, that puts a lot of stress on manufacturers, apart from the financial burden.

We hope to identify all the services and products needed in pharmaceutical manufacturing and establish the market size for them, with the aim of attracting investment into those areas, which will in turn support local manufacturing.

How do you think this project will impact on the pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain in Nigeria where certain government policies, such as the arbitrary forex policy, is a major challenge in itself?

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Firstly, this will go a long way to reduce forex demand by the pharmaceutical industry because, instead of sourcing for products and services outside Nigeria, they will do so locally. It will also increase forex earning in the country because once we have those services and products, the growing African pharmaceutical manufacturing base will rely on Nigeria for those services and products thereby increasing our forex earning.

To what extent do you think this project will stop or reduce our dependence on India and China for pharmaceutical raw materials, when government is obviously not providing the enabling environment for local raw materials development?

This project is aimed at reducing this dependency and even going further to make Nigeria a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing and support the rest of the continent. We hope this will serve as a motivation for those who have not been supporting the sector to wake up and be part of this impending change. Our local pharmaceutical manufacturers have been doing great and this will be a spur for them and will serve to further encourage them.

How much fund do you need precisely to achieve the goals of this project?

This project is a low-budget, high-impact project. The budget for this project is around 50,000 USD. This will be spent mainly on getting external sources of data and extra consultants for the project.

Already, the partners of this project are contributing their time and other resources to make this happen.

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