By Asmau Ahmad
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), on Friday says local production of pharmaceuticals is the surest means of providing quick access to quality, safe and efficacious medicines.
Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of NAFDAC was speaking in Lagos in respect of an online publication that attributed 63 per cent drop in pharmaceutical importations in two years to naira devaluation and inaccessible forex.
According to Adeyeye, the publication fails to assert that the decline in pharmaceutical imports is partly due to increase in local production.
“As a responsible regulatory agency, it is important that NAFDAC speaks on the write-up and bring up its perspective within the context of improving access to medicines by Nigerians.
“The agency is not oblivious of the numerous challenges confronting the pharmaceutical sector in our country.
“At the recently concluded 74th World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized on the need to strengthen local production of medicines and other health technologies to improve access.
“It is in our humble opinion that in spite of the multitude of challenges confronting the local pharmaceuticals, local production is the surest means of providing quickest access to quality medicines,” she said.
She said after the inception of the current NAFDAC administration in 2017 some policies were formulated and targeted towards enhancing local production of pharmaceuticals in the country.
She said some of the policies that were already yielding results include, the Five + Five (5+5) Policy that was aimed at migration of previously imported products that can be manufactured locally.
Others are the Expansion of NAFDAC’s Ceiling list, Establishment of New Pharmaceutical Plants in Nigeria, NAFDAC Tariff Regime on Imported Products and international Certification and Risk Based Classification of Local Drug Manufacturers.
Prof. Adeyeye noted that the journey to attain the reduction of importation of drugs by 40 per cent can be achieved if all relevant stakeholders in the industry collaborate to change the narrative.
She said, “the journey to achieve this lofty tasked, though a marathon, can be achieved in a very short time.
“All stakeholders and relevant government agencies in the country must collaborate to change the narratives in favour of enhancing domestic production of pharmaceuticals.