PSN: Lack of Medicine, Vaccines now Security Risks to Nigeria

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Martins Ifijeh

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has stated that the unavailability of medicines and vaccines in Nigeria are beginning to pose huge security risks to the populace, noting that tackling drug shortage will require prioritisation of local production by government and industry stakeholders.

It said the country has struggled over time to meet its full complements of essential medicines and was still contending with significant negative indices.

Stating this in a communique from its 9th Annual National Conference held in Abia State recently, tagged: ‘Medicines Availability and National Security’, the pharmaceutical body said even when the National Drug Policy 2005 had envisaged that the country will produce at least 70 per cent of its essential medicine needs by 2005, it still failed to meet the target and other objectives of he policy.

It said: “As it stands today a veritable tool enemies of Nigeria can exploit to fight without recourse to conventional warfare is to utilise the porous state of various points of entry via sea, land or air to ship huge batches of some of our fast selling drugs laced with toxic substances to inflict mortality on unsuspecting consumers of health.

“We admonish pharmaceutical manufacturers to form effective collaborations that will result in accelerated progress for the industry in a short period. One such required collaboration is with the Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, which has a resolve to drive critical infrastructural development in the country. Others include collaborations with international organisations on contract manufacture, distribution and access to drugs, Bank of Industry for funds and regional manufacturing groups such as the West Africa Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association.”

It called for concerted efforts by all relevant stakeholders for the local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) including engaging Dangote Group on requirements of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure those considerations are reckoned within the blueprint for Dangote’s petrochemical plant.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for establishing the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reform, and the appointment of a Pharmacist, Prof. Moji Adeyeye as Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), it called on relevant stakeholders to improved research and development and production of herbal medicines.

Among those who signed the communique are PSN President, Ahmed Yakasai, former PSN President, Olumide Akintayo, National Secretary PSN, Emeka Duru, and Editor in Chief, PSN, Tosin Adeyemi.