From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Pfizer, a global drug giant and National Health Insurance Agency (NHIA) have concluded plans for a partnership on the reimbursement of antimicrobial agents.
Consequently, the parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at improving patients’ access to innovative antibiotics.
Pfizer explained that the arrangement was an offshoot of the medicines supply initiative rolled out by the agency in October 2021 where a framework was developed to create an enabling environment for pharma companies to enter into partnership with the agency through an innovative cost-sharing mechanism to ensure the affordability of drugs for patients at treatment centres.
Pfizer West Africa Country Manager, Olayinka Subair, stated that Pfizer’s partnership with NHIA is a significant and commendable milestone for infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship programs in Nigeria as it would address key affordability challenges that contribute to high morbidity and mortality in critical care.
He explained: “Accessibility and affordability of the right antibiotic when patients present to treatment centers could determine treatment outcomes and, ultimately, survival of patients. Similarly, limited options of antibiotics could lead to over-use of available antibiotics and consequently antimicrobial resistance.”
He added that the partnership will enable Pfizer, NHIA and healthcare institutions to engage in capability building initiatives that are designed to support the health insurance ecosystem.
Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NHIA, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, in his remarks said the NHIA is well positioned to accelerate access to quality health care with the recent signing of the NHIA act which has expanded coverage for 83 million vulnerable Nigerians.
He said the agency will continue to bring affordable and quality healthcare to all Nigerians, with the implementation of its ten-year strategic plan which is presently on course. “As a health insurance regulator, we would work with Pfizer, the global drug giant to assiduously achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.”