Economic Situation Shrinking Pharmaceutical Business, Causing Drug Scarcity, ACPN Says

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Martins Ifijeh
The Chairman, Lagos State chapter, Association of Community Pharmacist of Nigeria, ACPN, Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, has raised the alarm that economic situation in Nigeria is shrinking pharmaceutical business across the country, while non-availability and non-affordability of drugs is affecting the health of Nigerians.
She said due to the high rates of duties on importation of pharmaceutical products, the inability of manufacturers to access foreign exchange and the increased rate of naira to dollar was further stiffening pharmaceutical business, as the sector has greatly been affected by the recession.
Stating this at the 2016 Community Pharmacists Education Conference in Lagos recently, she said over 100 importers have folded up or left the country, while not so many are bringing in pharmaceutical products required by Nigerians.
“Even though the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole denies that pharmaceutical businesses are not shrinking in the country, I believe he is a government official. The real people to ask are the manufacturers, pharmaceutical entrepreneurs and pharmacists who are on ground.”
According to her, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria body has met with the President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the challenges and how best to encourage indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturers for the benefit of Nigerians.
On his part, the National President, ACPN, Pharm. Albert Akali, said the continuous educational xxzprogramme for the pharmacists was timely, as the knowledge gained will help them float atop their business during the economic recession.
He called on government to reduce take off cut on raw materials, appoint substantive Director General for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and then give priority to the sector, as its importance to the health of Nigerians cannot be over emphasised.
The Medical Director, Reals Pharmaceuticals, Pharm. Ade Popoola, said all pharmacists must know how to do their businesses through emerging tools like the internet and computers. “Every pharmacist should improve his or her self,” he added.