By Doris Obinna
Mark Pharmaceuticals Limited is an indigenous firm that is firmly committed to fulfillment of its corporate vision, part of which is to deliver reliable therapeutic drugs such as Malastop, a top quality antimalarial, via importation and distribution.
Mark Pharmaceuticals was conceived and registered in 2005. It made its entry into the sector in 2007. Since then, and in line with its vision, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Chinaka Okani, a young and dynamic businessman told Sunday Sun in an interview: “We have been working to ensure that all our products are registered by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). We also endeavor to make the drugs available while ensuring that the quality of the drugs meet approved standard. This means that we equally ensure that we do not run out of products. We also ensure that our end users get value for the money they pay. Again, as a member of the Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria, we regulate the prices of these drugs to ensure they are affordable by all and sundry.”
As Okani reveals, what gives the firm’s Malastop antimalarial brand over other generics is the fact it is a brand of artmether-lumefantrine. It is imported from a reputable and recognized manufacturing company in China. “Malastop is registered by NAFDAC, it is always available, effective, affordable and competitive.”
Currently, Mark Pharmaceuticals Limited has over 100 drugs in its portfolio, all of which are currently imported. However, in support of government’s desire for local production of drugs, Okani assures: “Our long-term plan is to start manufacturing some of those drugs we import locally, for example, antimalarial, and vitamin, among others. Even with all the fears and challenges I mentioned, we are going to take the bull by the horn. Hopefully, we intend to go into local production by next year. By this, we would be conserving foreign exchange as well as creating more job opportunities for the youths.”
For this to happen, Okani strongly posits that the government has a major role to play. He explains: “Though there are local manufacturers that produce antimalarial drugs here in Nigeria, the demand for antimalarial is much in the country and so the few companies cannot meet up with the demands. In some families, they always have antimalarial drugs handy. On their own, they treat malaria every week while some do so every two weeks; so this is where the government comes in. For instance, you may have capacity to produce one million doses of antimalarial, but the supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and other packaging materials are imported. So there’s need for government to collaborate with genuine pharmaceutical importers by assisting to ensure that they are self-sufficient. You know, when you start production, because there are facilities that were lent to you, the profit will not come immediately. So, the project itself is a long-term project and this can take say seven to 10 years. However, government support would go a long way to boost local manufacturing of drugs.”