Recently at the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria’s (NAIP)’s 2019 CEOs’ Forum in Lagos, issues pertaining to how the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria can be made to perform at optimum capacity and occupy its pride of place on the continent took the front burner.
Stakeholders at the event harped on the need to advance the industry to a level where it will become a hub in Africa and begin to compete in the global pharmaceutical industry.
In his opening remark at the event, the Chairman at the occasion, the Managing Director, Embassy Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Nnamdi Obi, said the crux of the gathering was to, “explore the possibilities of having Nigeria as a pharmaceutical hub for the African continent and the world at large,” as well as “how best pharmaceutical products could be manufactured in Nigeria using models like the Ethiopian model where they have a cluster of pharmaceutical companies with the government being at the driving seat. It is possible for us to reenact that in Nigeria.”
Speaking on the ripple effect of establishing a pharmaceutical hub in Nigeria, Obi stated that, “our population is touted to be about 180 to 200 million. Imagine where a greater percentage of pharmaceuticals being utilised are manufactured in Nigeria. It is going to give birth to a chain of events, where a lot of people are going to be employed.”
Also speaking, NAIP National Chairman, Ignatius Anukwu, reiterated the need to set up a pharma hub in the country, saying the best way to have a “disruptive innovation” in the industry is to have “pharma clusters so that all manufacturers can come together in one place and share infrastructure that have been very expensive for Nigerians. We have infrastructural decay in the country – power is very expensive, transportation is a problem, water is a problem, etc, and every company that sets up in Nigeria, to meet up with the GMP standard, must have power to power your plant, you must have water treated to a certain level, you must have effluent plant, etc.
“So if you have 100 companies in Nigeria, they have 100. So what we are saying is that if you have 20 or 30 of such companies coming together, they will have one and share it, so the cost of production will be reduced; we can’t do this alone.”
He said the association was, therefore, already in talks with the Anambra State government to partner it by providing the infrastructure and enabling environment that will drive the project, adding that government can protect the industry by prohibiting the importation of molecules that the country has the capacity and technical competence to produce.