Pharmacists in Africa must take up the responsibilities of providing the medicines needed by the huge African population and providing solutions to the myriads of challenges facing local pharmaceutical manufacturers on the continent, Dr Didier Mouliom, secretary-general, African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF) has said.
He also urged pharmacists on the continent to do more to regulate medicines coming to Africa from other continents to reduce the incidence of fake and substandard drugs.
Speaking recently with Pharmanews in an exclusive interview Moulion said that the reasons for the influx of various drugs on the African continent was because pharmacists in Africa were not producing enough medicines for the population.
“That is why there are substandard and counterfeit medicines in our system. We have to do more to regulate medicines coming into the continent. We the leaders in the pharmaceutical sector in Africa must provide solution to the challenges facing local drug manufacturers in Africa and ensure they are able to manufacture quality pharmaceutical products and make it available to the populace at affordable costs.
“We have to work on how to improve all the important elements of local pharmaceutical production and we have to do more on local production of raw materials needed for pharmaceutical manufacturing,” he said.
Mouliom stated that Africa is blessed with the required competent human resource that can help transform the pharmaceutical sector in the continent, noting that there are many competent Africans practising in Europe and America in some of the biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Many competent pharmacists, he said, are also in Africa making invaluable contributions to the pharmaceutical sector despite the huge challenges confronting them.
“What we need is the support of government in Africa to get to the right level. The North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia are already doing well in this regard as they are producing between 60 to 70 percent of the drugs needed by their population.
“This is because the governments of those countries have done a lot to help grow the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector through good policies,” he said.
Mouliom while noting that Nigeria is one of the countries with a great capacity to produce quality medicines for their citizens, he emphasised that governments in Africa must begin to protect local drug manufacturing industry by formulating and implementing good policies as it is done in Europe.
“We can do a lot in OAU and ECOWAS to push this agenda. What we need is a good vision of what we need to do and proper advocacy to carry everyone along,” he said.
He stated further that even though the APF had clocked 15 years, having been established in 2004 in Zimbabwe and having an office donated by the PSN in Nigeria, the body still had a long way to go to ensure there is unity in Africa on pharmaceutical science, adding that the FIP regional forum gives the continent the opportunity to focus on the challenges and needs of the continent.