Pharma Manufacturers Urged to Synergise for Drug Security

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…As NAIP discusses way forward on Nigeria’s drug security, self-sufficiency

Pharma Manufacturers Urged to Synergise for Drug Security
L-R: keynote speaker, pharm. (Sir) Valentine Ezeiru; Fozi Al Kailani of Fabtech Technology private ltd; Chairman of the occasion Pharm. Ade Popoola; PSN president, Prof. Cyril Usifoh;  Prof. Lere Baale and Chief of Party USP, Pharm. Mopa Esuga, at the NAIP event on Tuesday in Lagos.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country have been urged to form a synergy that will enable them work together to achieve drug security and self-sufficiency in the nation.

This was the trust of the Chief Executive Officers’ Forum (CEO Forum) of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) held on Tuesday in Lagos. The theme of the forum was “Promoting self-sufficiency and drug security through local contract manufacturing and API manufacturing -Lesson learnt from COVID-19”.

While speaking at the meeting, the National President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, said the way to go if Nigeria must achieve drug security and self-sufficiency is to sustain manufacturing of quality and efficacious pharmaceutical products.

He noted the importance of collaboration among the CEOs of all pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, saying the Society is ready to partner with NAIP in taking the pharmaceutical industry to greater height.

“If we keep producing, we should be the supplier for the whole of West Africa countries. The solution to drug security and self-sufficiency is manufacturing of drugs and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). PSN is ready to partner with NAIP because industrial pharmacists still hold the niche for all other pharmacists in the country”, Usifoh said.

In his remarks, the National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu, said for Nigeria to grow as a nation, the country must embrace the best global practice, by emulating what other manufacturing countries are doing; adding that the only way Nigeria can attain self-sufficiency and drug security is through continuous manufacturing of quality drugs and production of API.

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Pharm. Onuegbu said “Unity is another thing that will help us to go forward. NAIP is faced with many challenges. If it is not Customs, it is NAFDAC, if it is not NAFDAC, it is clearing problem and many others. We must come together to fight our common enemy”.

Also speaking at the forum, the Managing Director, Reals Pharmaceutical Limited, Pharm. Ade Popoola, who was the chairman of the event, explained that contractual issue and Nigerians’ penchant for ignoring contract agreement is one of the major challenges facing drug contract manufacturing in the country.

Other challenges facing contract manufacturing in Nigeria, according to Pharm. Poopola are regulatory issues and guidelines for contract manufacturing; conflict of interest as well as intellectual property use. He therefore called on drug manufacturers in the country to work together and leverage on government support for manufacturing, to boost drug production in the country, so as to achieve drug security and self-sufficiency.

In his keynote address, on the topic the “Promoting self-sufficiency and drug security through local contract manufacturing and API manufacturing-Lesson learnt from COVID-19”, the keynote speaker at the forum, who is the CEO of Oculus Pharmacare, Pharm. (Sir) Valentine Ezeiru, stated that promoting and encouraging self-sufficiency and drug security through local contract and API manufacturing is a task that all stakeholders in the industrial pharmacy must all collaborate to achieve.

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According to him, self-sufficiency is an instance of needing no outside aid or help in satisfying ones basic needs, especially with regard to the production of foods or medicines. Drug security on the other hand, according to the Oculus Pharmacare boss, is a measure put in place to ensure that quality, safe and efficacious medicines are produced by facilities that meet the right standards and, that the integrity of such medicines are not compromised during its distribution along supply chains from manufactures down to the consumers.

On the concept of contract manufacturing, Pharm. Ezeiru said “When it comes to manufacturing, not every company has resources, capacity or time to do it all effectively; just as many businesses choose to outsource accounting or IT management, so do many companies outsource their manufacturing needs to a firm who can provide a more efficient production run, a faster turnaround, improved quality and better scalability, among a host of other things; this is called contract manufacturing”.

He noted that many challenges have slowed down drug manufacturing in Nigeria, noting that most of the raw materials needed for the production are imported because Nigeria doesn’t have strong petrochemical industry that should produce resins and excipients, which consists of colouring agents, preservatives, and fillers among others. Quoting the Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN), he pointed out that the industry’s capacity utilization is barely 47% and only few players are really healthy.

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Ezeiru, stated that with the various challenges in the country facing the pharmaceutical product manufacturing, which are yet to be resolved, for Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturers to handle local contract and API manufacturing for other pharmaceutical investors has become a tall order.

He however pointed out that there is no other way to attain self-sufficiency and drug security, through local contract and API manufacturing, than to put in place deliberate radical policy; adding that an enabling business environment must also be created by the government to promote, protect and grow the industry. He also called for a right policy to attract investment, adding that investors must also be given a time period to recoup their investments.

Meanwhile, NAIP has unveiled its academy, known as NAIP Business Academy (NBA). While unveiling the academy, NAIP National Chairman said the essence of the academy is to train people in the pharmaceutical industry and other Nigerians who yearn for knowledge and skill.

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