The Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Okey Akpa, has warned that Nigerians are to prepare for scarcity of medicines in the country. Akpa said the lingering shortage of foreign exchange has prevented drug manufacturers from importing raw materials and chemicals need to produce most essential medicines the country.
The PMG-MAN boss spoke at a press briefing organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria as part of activities leading to the investiture of its 20th President, Mr. Ahmed Yakassai, in Lagos. According to him, many drug manufacturers have run out of their present stock and they are unable to replenish due to dollar insufficiency.
Akpa said, “Presently, there is a drought of raw materials to produce because we can’t access forex from the banks to import raw materials which can’t be sourced locally. “We have been using our previous stock since this development but we will soon run out. What this means is that essential medicines will be scarce and when they are available they will be unaffordable.
“We know why the dollar is scare but government should identify genuine manufacturers and give them forex. After food security, what is most important is the availability of drugs.”
The PSN President, Yakasai , called on the Federal Government to revisit the N200bn intervention fund it had promised the pharmaceutical sector to encourage local manufacturers. He noted that the financial support would ensure that 70 per cent of drugs sold in Nigeria were manufactured by indigenous companies. Yakasai said, “Only 30-35 per cent of medicines sold in Nigeria are produced locally. We have agreed with the Federal Government to boost local drug production to 70 per cent but we need the N200bn intervention fund to achieve this target.”
REFERENCE : PUNCH NEWS.