The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Prof. Cyril Odianose Usifoh, recently visited the WHO state-of-the-art manufacturing factory of Bond Chemical and Industries Limited, in Awe, Afijio Local Government, Oyo State, for a facility visit.
Usifoh, who expressed his admiration for the 87-year-old Chairman of the company, Chief Theophilos Adebowale Omotosho, the Asiwaju of Afijio Land, Oyo State, identified the use of technology in the running of the ultra-modern factory as a welcome development.
Touring the facility along with the Bond’s team for inspection, he described the plant as a world-class factory, incorporated with modern facilities for the production of tablets, capsules, dry powder, liquids, and other products.
Speaking further, the number- one -pharmacist in the country noted that the recent pronouncement by the Federal Government on reduction of importation of drugs from 60 per cent to 40 per cent, to increase local manufacturing of drugs was a good decision but wrongly taken, adding that the decision was unilaterally taken without the input of stakeholders in the industry.
He said it is a great decision, but when necessary steps to ensure local manufacturers meet up with the 60 per cent accruable to them, it may end up a bad decision.
“There are industries situated in some places in the country that don’t have good road infrastructure to get their products to the end users, how would they meet up? Also, there are no credit facilities for the majority of these pharmaceutical manufacturers to produce these drugs, so how would they cope?” he stressed.
He continued, “By reducing importation and increasing local manufacturing, it will create massive job opportunities and reduce the rate of fake drugs in the country, but what have we put in place to ensure that companies like Bond Chemical and Industries Limited, have good roads to move their goods, and also have enough credit facility to expand and meet up with the 60 per cent”.
“I am saying this without any doubt that most of the fake and substandard drugs come through our borders due to medicine insecurity, so the reduction is a positive decision, but I hope it’s not too late for the govt to do the right thing by involving the stakeholders and do other things that it requires to truly reduce the importation of drugs from 60 per cent to 40 per cent,” he said.
Commending the management of Bond for her commitment to the well-being of the nation and improving the quality of health of the people, he said there should be a review of the unnecessary billing system on registration of drugs by NAFDAC, adding that the agency should not be a fund generating body, saying it is making drug unaffordable in most cases.
While welcoming the PSN president, Pharm. Clement Adeboye, general manager, Bond Chemical and Industries Limited, expressed delight at the visit, adding that the company appreciated the effort he has been making in the realm of policy-making as far as pharmaceutical practice is concerned in Nigeria.
“At this time that we have the opportunity of meeting you, we would urge you to please put in your effort to ensure that government patronise us, and other locally manufactured products as they are the biggest buyer of pharmaceuticals and with their consistent patronage, it will help us to resolve several challenges confronting us..
In his speech, the Managing Director, Pharm. Remi Omotosho, who stood in for the Chairman, noted that the company is a local manufacturer of high-quality, safe and affordable pharmaceutical products, adding that it started as a retail pharmacy called Bond Chemists Limited in 1977.
“The factory of Bond Chemical Industries Limited situated in Awe, Oyo State, Nigeria was officially commissioned in 1988, so the company has been in the manufacturing business for the past 35 years. We have progressed and we have recorded some remarkable achievements, as we have expanded from the initial small factory to the old factory, and in line with the recent development prompting by NAFDAC that there should be a minimum requirement, especially as regards the WHO standard, we felt the need to also upgrade and that’s what led to this new factory that we started using about 2 years ago,” he said.
While commending the PSN boss on his effort to reposition the pharmaceutical sector, Omotosho noted that local drug production of drugs should be encouraged, as this will enhance drug security, adding that 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,” he said.
His words, “We have seen a lot of positive impacts that you have made in the last one and half year or thereabout that you became the PSN President and the effort you have put into negotiating with the policy makers for the betterment of our sector. I want to stress that manufacturers need more support, and we are counting on you,”
Others in attendance were Mr Andrew Aina, national marketing manager; Mr Alex Fabiyi, chief accountant; Mr Joseph Ajayi, quality manager, Mr Kayode Adejumo, admin and human resource manager, and Pharm. Olumakinde Oludepo, national sales manager.