City Pharmaceuticals and Allied Partners Limited recently donated drugs worth more than N80 million to the Lagos state government to enable the state fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of City Pharmaceuticals and Allied Partners Limited during the handover in Lekki, Lagos, recently Mr. Nnamdi Obi, chairman, board of directors, said: “In the light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the state, we would like to appreciate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s effort and tenacity in the fight against the spread, effect and obliteration of this pandemic.
“As part of our corporate social responsibility, we are donating these drugs and clinical items, which include 100 units of complete sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), 40 cartons of hand sanitizer, 23 cartons of examination gloves, 10 cartons of surgical gloves, 55 cartons of multivitamin syrup, 14 cartons of multivitamin mineral supplement, 25 cartons of vitamin-C tablets (100mg), five cartons of vitamin-C glucose, 26 cartons of anti-malaria tablets, injection, suspension and suppositories, 16 cartons of antiseptic soap, four cartons of Panagreen tablets suspensions (painkillers), five cartons of Bisacodyl (anti-spasmodic), and seven cartons of anti-biotics/anti-microbial agent to the state.
“When you donate drugs, people cannot truly put a value to them because they’re not so bulky. Look at the PPEs (100 units), it is over N4.5 million. And this can get you a truck/trailerload of rice. And then the other pharmaceutical products here are over N80 million. We are not really playing to the gallery for somebody to appreciate the quantity of what we have donated. We are here to lend a helping hand to the very active governor of Lagos State towards the containment of COVID-19 in the state.
“Once again, we want to reassure the Lagos State government of our continued support in the fight against this pandemic. We trust that, with the resilient strength of mind of the government and the people, this pandemic will soon be surmounted.”
Mr. Oladeide Fredric, Commissioner for Transport, who received the drugs on behalf of the governor, thanked City Pharmaceuticals for its kind gesture. He said: “We are quite appreciative of what City Pharmaceuticals and Allied Partners have done. Everything that they have donated is quite relevant and we will use it judiciously to the fight this COVID-19 pandemic. I say a big thank you on behalf of Lagos State governor. What they have done is tremendous and we are happy that the private sector is assisting our government to fight this virus.”
Earlier, Mr. Obi explained that the company was a special purpose vehicle (SPV) borne out of Federal Government initiative to institutionalise drug distribution system in Nigeria with a pilot phase in Lagos, Kano, Onitsha and Aba. When fully implemented, he said, the scheme would replace the open drug market system with a structural/regulated channel of distribution of pharmaceutical drugs in Nigeria.
He said the company had commenced implementation in Lagos State with the acquisition of 10 hectares of land in Ijora, adding that it was about to commence construction to actualise the initiative. He called on other corporate bodies to support Lagos State government to win the war.
His words: “We are all aware of the fact that this COVID-19 is really ravaging the entire world and Nigeria, being part of the world, is also to a very large extent affected. Lagos State government is doing quite a lot towards checkmating this pandemic. And so it is very reasonable that every responsible corporate organisation and citizen of Lagos should give a helping hand. It can never be a one-man show.”
Mr Obi, who is also MD/CEO of Embassy Pharmaceuticals and Chemical Company Limited, lamented shortage of important materials to combat the pandemic across the world. He, however, regretted that Nigeria’s case was very pathetic, mainly due to absence of basic infrastructure.
He said: “Unfortunately, most nations of the world were caught off guard regarding this, given that most advanced economies are also holding the short end of the stick. But here in Nigeria, pharmaceutical companies get most of their active pharmaceutical ingredients from China and India. And with the outbreak of COVID-19, they have restricted/banned export of these ingredients to take care of local demand. This has worsened the situation here.
“We have said it repeatedly that we need to have functional petrochemical industry to kick-start industrialisation in the country. The government cannot shy away from it. And for any person to think that investors will come into the country to invest heavily with almost total absence of infrastructure in the country is a tall dream. That is why we have a situation where most of the items, as you rightly observed, are imported into the country. And it is not by choice but by the exigencies of the moment.
“Nigeria will start doing well in this sector when we get very functional transport system, when we have ports that are functional, when we can source materials, starch and other active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) locally (no local API factory in Nigeria presently). That states the obvious fact that whatever drug or other stuff that is produced here is going to be much more expensive. Even the director-general of NAFDAC, Mrs. Mojisola Adeyeye, acknowledged recently that, except for water, all other active ingredients for the manufacture of drugs locally come from abroad. So, we are in a very big mess/dire situation in the country.”
Reminded that Madagascar has developed a herbal drink for the prevention/treatment of COVID-19 and that Senegal, through 3D technology, has developed low-price ventilators to fight the pandemic, he noted that: “We have to put our scientists to test by supporting them with necessary research and development funding and others to embark on vigorous search for drug for treatment and possibly vaccine. But, unfortunately, we don’t value what we have. If we can give the support and other empowerment, they can provide solution to the pandemic. Senegal and Madagascar are good examples of looking inward to proffer solution. Madagascar has a local herbal drink they are using to fight the pandemic. Why can’t we do the same?”
Obi was accompanied by other directors of the company, including Mr. Felix Ugbojiaku, Mr. Kennedy Izunwa, Mrs. Arilesere Tana, Mr. Jude Onwusonye, Mr. Benjamin Uduji, Mr. Chukwudi Obi, Mr. Innocent Ezennia, Mr. Afolabi Obafunso, Mr. Emmanuel Umenwa, Mr. Boniface Okolie and Mrs. Lilian Ekuma.