Managing Director of SKG Pharma Limited, Dr. Okey Akpa has said that it is not in the interest of national security for Nigeria to depend largely on imported drugs for the healthcare needs of a population of over 180 million people.
He therefore called on the federal government and other tiers of government to adopt and implement the concept of Medicines Security, which is a strategic document developed by the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG -MAN) to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria was encouraged through policy and political will to produce adequate, quality and affordable drugs locally for the health needs of the Nigeria.
Akpa who spoke in Lagos while receiving the President of the Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mansur Ahmed and his team in his office, said the concept on Medicine Security was based on the National Drug Policy 2005 as amended which stipulates among other things that 70 per cent of the drugs consumed in the country should be produced locally while 30 per cent is exported.
The SKG pharma boss who is the chairman of the West Africa PMG-MAN, said: “Local production which now stands at 35 per cent is not a reflection of the skills and capacity of local industries but will need government intervention in several areas to boost the capacity of local pharmaceutical companies.”
In addition, Akpa called on the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria to set up N300billion Pharmaceutical Expansion and Export Fund which will provide soft loans to upgrade, improve the factories and increase capacity among indigenous drug manufacturing companies.
While responding, Ahmed acknowledged the challenges facing manufacturers and the difficult environment they operate, adding that the association was engaging the government to ensure that there is support along the pharmaceutical value chain.
He said MAN was working with the Raw Materials Research and Development Council to make available some of their works to the indigenous companies to produce in commercial quantity.