Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The federal government has reiterated it’s commitment to partner with local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies to ensure access to quality medicines by the Nigerian populace at affordable cost.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this known in Abuja while meeting with members of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN).
In his address, Adewole said that in line with the National Drug Policy which stipulates that Nigeria should aim at producing 70 per cent of its medicine needs, the Health Ministry was ready to support willing and capable groups to expedite action towards the achievement of that goal.
In view of this, Adewole stressed that import duties on drugs would remain while waiver on tariffs would be sought on imported drugs yet to be manufactured in Nigeria. This, he added was one of the ways to encourage competitiveness and create the enabling environment for local drug manufacturers.
Adewole inaugurated a committee of experts, headed by the Director, Food and Drugs Services, Pharm. Modupe Chukuma to come up with a list of drugs that Nigeria was yet to have the capacity to produce, so that waiver on tariffs could be sought from the Finance Ministry.
He advised the manufacturers to strive to reduce cost of locally manufactured drugs by as much as 30 per cent and create efficient systems to ensure that drugs get to the last person in need of them.
Earlier in his presentation on the proposed Expedited Medicine’s Access Programme (E-MAP), the National President of PMG-MAN, Dr. S. Okechukwu Anpa, enumerated its benefits to include: improved access to medicine and affordability; assurance of quality drugs; sustainability of essential medicine needs and supply to Nigerians; employment of innovative techniques to absorb some local content cost and employment generation, amongst others.
Anpa noted that the fiscal policy of the government was not responsible for the recent hike in cost of medicines witnessed across the country. He sought for the support of the federal government to assist the PMG-MAN by adopting the Expedited Medicine’s Access Programme (E-MAP) and ensuring access to forex for basic raw materials required for production.