Drug price in Nigeria may increase next year
The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has warned that if the banks continue to lend money at 26 percent interest rate, Nigerians should not expect low drug prices.
The association also said unless the Federal Government exempts drug companies from paying tax on pharmaceutical raw materials, accessibility to cheap drugs may be impossible.
Speaking at a press conference addressed by PMGMAN recently, the chairman of the association, Mr. Okey Akpa, said drug manufacturing was capital intensive and that in order for Nigeria to become self sufficient in essential drugs, government must provide enabling environment and other incentives.
Akpa, who is also the Managing Director of SKG Pharma, advised that the drug needs of a nation must not be controlled by another for many reasons.
He said, “Self sufficiency in drug manufacturing is a national security issue, as the recent Ebola incident has showed.
“There is a new thinking that critical intervention is urgently required to sustain pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa, with Nigeria as the hub.”
Citing the example of high blood pressure, Akpa noted that the disease had racial evaluation because the drugs that are used by whites do not work in blacks.
“That’s why you sometimes have cases of adverse drug reactions or lack of appreciable progress among some categories of patients.
However, with appropriate support from government, we are ready to produce quality drugs for Nigerians,” the PMGMAN boss said.
The MD/CEO of May & Baker, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, said one of the reasons why no Nigerian pharmaceutical company produces vaccines is due to some of the reasons already adduced by Akpa.
Okafor said, “In order to set up a line for vaccine manufacturing alone, you need at least N2bn; however, the problem gets compounded when you realize that at the end of the day, the drugs manufactured locally are more expensive than the imported ones, making it virtually impossible to penetrate the local market.”