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Psychiatrists’ Association urges local production of more drugs

by Haruna Gimba

By Muhammad Amaan with agency report

The Association of Psychiatrists of Nigeria (APN) has urged the Federal Government to ensure local production of most drugs to reduce the current cost of drugs in the country.

The President of the association, Dr Taiwo Obindo, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

Obindo, also a Consultant Psychiatrist, said local production of drugs would not only crash the price regime, but also make them readily available.

He lamented that a lot of people who needed medical services could not access or afford such services due to the high cost.

The psychiatrist added that the drugs are expensive because majority of them are imported.

According to him, if the drugs are produced locally, at least the cost of production will be minimal, leading to simultaneous reduction in the cost.

He said, “presently, the cost of healthcare is generally high and people who needed the services cannot afford medication.

“Considering the high exchange rate, majority of the drugs are largely imported and most of the foreign companies producing them are even leaving the country.

“So many Nigerians today, particularly in the rural areas have gone to their early graves due to inability to afford the medical bills.

“If we can produce the drugs locally here, the cost will reduce.”

Obindo, who decried the fact that most of the foreign companies are leaving the country, advised that Nigeria should see it as an opportunity to develop and grow its local pharmaceutical production capacity.

He advised government to grant some sort of waivers to existing pharmaceutical companies to encourage their stay in business.

He also urged government to intensify efforts to subsidise cost of drugs in the country.

“Government can seize the opportunity to look inwards and establish more local pharmaceutical companies, provide an enabling environment for existing ones to thrive.

“This, I believe will go a long way to reduce cost of drugs, make them readily available and even encourage medical tourism into the country,” Obindo said.

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