*Kicks against blanket waiver for importation of essential drugs that local manufacturers have developed excessive capacity to produce
Local manufacturers of medicines under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) have unveiled how Nigeria can attain medicine security and national self-sufficiency.
Executive Secretary, PMG-MAN, Frank Muonemeh, during a donation to the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19 in response to the pandemic, told journalists: “We are aware that in the wake of COVID 19, globalisation is being threatened as countries are looking inwards for, home grown solutions to solve their problem. According to International Trade Center Market Access Map (www.macmap.org/covid19), as at June 18, 2020, 95 countries placed temporary export restrictions on the essential COVID-19 pharmaceutical and non pharmaceutical products used in response to COVID-19, inclusive of some African countries, hence the need for countries to look inwards for home-grown solutions. The fall out of this realisation is that every country looks inward for solutions.
“It is time we reverse the country’s over-dependence on imported medicines. It is time we focus on how to attain medicine security and national self-sufficiency, just like many other countries are on reset thinking, with globalization being threatened by protectionism. We are glad that Mr. President is already responding to the clarion call, in his Democracy day speech June 12th, he emphasized need for Nigeria to produce what they consume and consume what they produce. Ours is to continue to close the gap in access to medicine, with a vision to attain medicine security.”
PMG-MAN represents all the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and allied products in Nigeria, who collectively play key role in ensuring that Nigerians have timely access to affordable, safe and high quality medicines, as well as contribute to national development.
Muonemeh commended the PTF team for the great work they have been doing in containing the spread of COVID-19.
The pharmacist said PMG-MAN has over the years been closing the gap in access to medicine in Nigeria, and one of their core values is contributing to social development through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and there is no better time to live up to this value than now.
“In view of the above, we are donating Made in Nigeria essential Medicines (15 tons’ weight) and made in Nigeria staple foods (15 tons’ weight) to the PTF team to support their response in the containment of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Muonemeh also commended President Mohammed Buhari on the N100 billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervention Fund for the sector, which some member pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are looking forward to access -to expand their facilities, repurpose them for COVID-19 response products, introduce new product lines, import machineries and ramp up production to satisfy the essential medicine needs of Nigerians.
He, however, said it is worthy of note to state that for optimal outcome of the good intention of CBN intervention fund to be achieved, Federal Government of Nigeria must continue to support the sector with policies that will encourage investors and sustain manufacturers in this sector, example, following through on policies like Executive other 003, National Drug Policy, Domestic Procurement Preference Policy of BPP 2007 and robust protectionism policies, give local pharmaceutical manufacturing a priority status.
The Government of Nigeria (GON) should be wary of those economic saboteurs that disguise to -use COVID-19 public health challenge to blackmail GON, to grant blanket waiver for essential drugs which the local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies have developed excessive capacity to produce, as such policy reversal will not only kill the local pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, it will give a window for dumping opportunity to the importers to flood Nigeria market with all sorts of cheap, substandard drugs, irrespective of the number of months they are asking for the waivers. “It will be counterproductive to the purpose for which the CBN intervention fund was intended,” he said.
PMG-MAN recently tasked the Federal Government on the proposed Expedited Medicines’ Access Programme (E-MAP), which is a collaborative contractual partnership between the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and local manufacturers.
PMG-MAN isaid the proposal, E-MAP, is line with the vision and aspirations of the current administration, which aims at providing affordable, high quality medicines to the Nigerian populace in a sustainable and cost efficient manner.
The programme design involves combining innovative manufacturing practices with contextual logistics and supply chain management. This will in turn achieve effective, cost efficient and timely provision of high quality medicines across the country.