Scarcity of essential drugs imminent, industrial pharmacists warn – moneyamebo


The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria has warned that there may be a scarcity of essential medications across the country due to the current economic downturn.

The National Chairman of NAIP, Kenneth Onuegbu said the pharmaceutical companies may not be able to provide crucial medications if the government does not address and find a solution to the high cost of diesel and forex scarcity.

The World Health Organsation described essential medicines as those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of a population.

According to WHO, essential medicines can save lives and improve health and are selected with due regard to disease prevalence, public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness.

Speaking at the 5th Annual International Conference of the Nigerian Association of Foreign Trained Pharmacists, held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State, the NAIP chairman lamented that the current economic situation of the country has affected production and importation of medications.

While listing poor infrastructure, forex scarcity, and regulations as key issues affecting the pharmaceutical sector, Onuegbu urged the federal government to intervene in providing an enabling environment for producers.

“Poor infrastructure is a major challenge. Buying diesel is a very big headache for pharmaceutical companies.

“We have insecurity issues, and how to get the medication from the point of production to the final consumer is another challenge that we have not been able to solve.

“To access forex is a big challenge. The process can take a year to get the CBN subsidised rate, hence, we resort to the black market. You can imagine that we buy drugs at the rate of N1,100, and automatically, it will affect production.

“If we don’t do something about it, there is going to be a scarcity of essential medicines. We must call for the domestication of medications to reduce the production cost.

“It is also important to note that our environment is over-regulated. Our regulation ought to have a Nigeria face; we cannot be promoting local production when you are making it difficult for them to start.

“Government needs to tackle insecurity, epileptic power supply, forex and host of others if they really want pharmaceutical companies to survive in this country.”

In his remarks, the President of NAFTraph, Dr. John Ejezie blamed the current high price of medicine on supply chain challenges and high inflation rates.

He lamented that the current depreciation of the Naira had reduced the purchasing power of the citizenry and affected the production of drugs.

While describing the challenges plaguing the pharmaceutical sector as a big obstacle for Nigerian pharmacists, Ejezie maintained that the association will continue to reshape the health indicators through community-based free wellness efforts.

“These socio-economic menaces are experienced across the globe, and developing economies are disproportionately impacted due to non-robust socio-economic structures that might absorb such societal and economic shocks.

“Despite all these societal menaces and socio-economic challenges, we can’t let those wonderful dreams and aspirations dissipate, or anyone or circumstances kill them,” he added.

Source: The Punch


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