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Boosting local production solution to high cost of drugs – NAFDAC DG

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Boosting local production solution to high cost of drugs – NAFDAC DG

The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, on Sunday, reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to boost local drug production in the country.
The NAFDAC DG stated this at a webinar lecture organised by The Cable Newspaper to celebrate its 10th anniversary with the theme, ‘Addressing Costs of Medicines’, noting that enhancing the sector would help to address the high cost of drugs nationwide.
In a statement issued by the NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, Adeyeye said the administration of President Tinubu administration understands the significance of local content, which is in tandem with the agency’s goals, which is to ensure “an increase in the nation’s GDP” and reduce the unemployment rate.
“Locally manufactured medicinal products would be more accessible and affordable compared to the imported drugs,” while the “rejuvenation” of the local pharmaceutical industry will become a “panacea for the high cost of medicines in the country,” the statement partly read.
The NAFDAC DG attributed the high cost of local production to the devaluation of the naira and high exchange, lamenting that it had made procurement of raw materials and equipment imported for production extremely high.
She, however, lauded the ‘5 plus 5’ regulatory scheme, which she said has improved the availability and accessibility of drugs.
Adeyeye said, “Two multinationals left and made the cost of drugs they produce to go up.
She added,  “To encourage the local pharmaceutical industry to grow, Prof Adeyeye reiterated that NAFDAC under her leadership started the “5 plus 5” regulatory scheme where a company that has been importing drugs that the local pharmaceutical industry can produce will get a last five-year renewal.
“During the five-year renewal period, the importer must migrate to local manufacturing or partner with a local manufacturer.
“This is an outcome of a study that was done in 2019 that revealed that the top 5 drugs that are imported are also the top 5 drugs that are manufactured in Nigeria.
“More than 30 per cent of new companies in Nigeria are results of the ‘5 plus 5’ scheme, which has made many importers start building their own companies or partnering with local manufacturers through contract manufacturing. That is access. That’s the way to make drugs available, accessible.”
The NAFDAC DG further said, ‘Our manufacturers import everything except water.”
Adeyeye decried the fact that raw materials – Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and the non-active called Excipients are all imported.
‘’I told the industry operators that we need to start making some APIs locally and that has resulted in EMZOR almost completing their facilities in Shagamu. They are going to be making four anti-malaria APIs – sulfadoxime, Pyrimethamine, Artemether and Lumefantrine. The Fidson consortium is also planning to manufacture some APIs.
‘’But we cannot start manufacturing locally without strengthening the regulations because we have never regulated local manufacturing of APIs.”
Adeyeye said NAFDAC would deploy traceability technology to monitor the supply chain, to check “substandard falsified medicines.”
The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Ali Pate, on his part, assured Nigerians that the various policy measures already put in place by the President would soon begin to reflect positively on the cost of essential medical commodities.
He noted that the rising costs of pharmaceuticals are part of the global phenomenon, expressing regrets that Nigeria has been doing catch-up for the past 20 years.
Pate said, ‘We are working hard to do so through the Presidential Initiative to unlock the pharmaceutical value chain that the President announced in October 2023. But there are two pockets of issues underlying what we are observing now. Nigerians are hurting.
“There is forex devaluation, which is on the supply side – the ability to buy materials, equipment and the infrastructure deficit. Some infrastructure for manufacturing that we have is not at the level that could meet up the demand that we have,’’ he said.

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