We want to make pharma companies self-sufficient in blister packaging films – Jackpak boss

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Quateel Ahmad is the chief executive of Jackpak Industries Nigeria Limited, a company that produces and markets blister packing films for pharmaceutical packaging applications. In this interview with Pharmanews, he bares his mind on the challenges facing the pharmaceutical blister packaging film industry in Nigeria and how Jackpak has been helping local manufacturers to produce top quality pharmaceutical blister packaging films that can compete internationally. Excerpts:

Tell us about Jackpak. When was the company established, and what are your objectives in Nigeria?


Jackpak was established in 2018 and began commercial production towards the end of the year. The objective is straightforward: to reduce the dependency of local pharma producers on imported blister packing films by producing it here. This is certainly a first in Nigeria and West Africa. We intend to supply all major pharma producers in Nigeria and already have a strong base of committed buyers.

Since you started operations in Nigeria, what has been your experience about the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry and market?
Our experience has been positive, and the local industry has welcomed our locally manufactured products. Today, our products are distributed from here in Ota, Ogun State, to Kano, in the north; Enugu, in the east; Kwara, in the west; and of course Lagos. In all, the major manufacturing hubs are covered. Yet there is a tremendous scope for growth, as we have still not penetrated some segments and companies.

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However, getting customers to accept and believe that locally produced goods are as good as the imported ones has been the biggest challenge. The belief is that no locally manufactured product can be as good as the imported ones. Fortunately, most of our clients are chief executives of companies and they appreciate the quality and the numerous benefits of buying locally made products.
The overall Nigerian business environment is more dynamic than many other developing and developed countries and as such has its own set of challenges, such as port, traffic, and higher costs of goods.

Pharmaceutical blister packaging films are very important for the integrity and quality of drugs. How do you ensure your blister packs are of a good quality, comparable to the imported ones from Europe and Asia?

Technology and technical expertise are the keys to making any product. Technology manifests itself in the machinery, equipment, materials, and protocols followed. We ensure that the machines are new, precise, and modern. All other equipment are modern and the protocols are adapted from the best in class practices prevalent in the industry today.
It is a formulation-driven process and we have controls for consistently creating the same product. However, the correct deployment of technology needs technical expertise and we have on board, experts who are very experienced in the making of these films. We have a stringent quality assurance that oversees and ensures that quality control is maintained. Each product is tested and its certificate of analysis (COA) accompanies every delivery.

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Raw materials are specially controlled and we purchase the best raw materials to ensure, consistent quality and performance up to the highest standards for the film.

Are there local regulatory protocols you adhere to in your operations and are you regulated by NAFDAC?

Prior to confirmation as a supplier, we were audited by the Customer’s Quality Assurance and Packaging Materials team. Their supplier audit is a very stringent and mandatory part of the diligence before appointment as a supplier to them. We have been audited a few times and have met all requirements. These are an ongoing process and we make sure that we are updating our processes and protocols constantly.

Are there specific advantages for local pharmaceutical manufacturers that decid to buy blister packs locally, rather than place order to ship it in from abroad?

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They are quite numerous, but to start with, they won’t exert their forex payouts, as the transactions are done in naira. Most of the bigger buyers who import their product directly from the sellers abroad have to pay in USD or other currencies which is not the ideal situation. There is no need to stock up on films because people tend to stock up here due to the uncertainty in forex and logistics. So we are in a way mitigating these for the customer.

Also, as a consequence of smaller quantities, the space required is much lesser, so that the customer is able to utilise the space better, faster order to fulfillment ratio, which mean instead of taking months, it takes just days from ordering to receipt of goods in customers warehouse, thus making inventory planning much better.

Another advantage is that, as a local manufacturer, we are making colours available, which is a huge advantage as it can not only be used for protecting the drug, it can also be used for brand differentiation, flexibility in order, as we can supply more specific widths and reduce wastage, among several other benefits.

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