Medical experts say the Nigerian pharmaceutical market has remained stagnant at $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, despite its potential to hold 30 to 40 percent of the African pharma market given new policy interventions.
Currently, Nigeria hosts about 60 percent of the pharmaceutical production capacity in Africa and is projected to grow between $60 billion to $70 billion after COVID-19, the experts said.
The Director-General, National Institue for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe raised the concerns on Nigeria’s failing pharma sector when researchers under the Pharmaceutical Subsector Thematic Group of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Research and Development Standing Committee, RDSC, held an appraisal meeting of the sector.
Adigwe also warned that pharmaceuticals touch at the heart of national security, adding that the country may never be able to sustain the supply of high quality and affordable medicines for the populace except it determines how such drugs are produced and distributed.
“Pharma sector is probably the highest value chain related sector in any part of the world. For every job you create in the pharma sector you create close to ten jobs on ancillary,” he said, adding that the sector has a high potential to stimulate growth across the entire socio-economic space.
The NIPRD boss asked the government to ensure the provision of infrastructure and equipment, as well as fund local companies in the production of pharmaceutical products.
Adigwe insisted on the institutionalisation of research in the sector to guide the various processes of pharmaceutical products production and delivery especially synergy among stakeholders in the identified areas of research.
He also called for the improvement in ICT facilities and power supply to compete with external institutions, adding that a focus on phytomedicine can drive the nations ‘Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to about 5%.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of TETFund Research and Development Committee, Mansur Ahmed, decried the gradual disappearance of pharmaceutical plants in Nigeria, calling on relevant agencies to save the industry by conserving forests across the country.
Ahmed called for the deployment a legal framework to guide pharmaceutical rights in the country, emphasizing that intellectual property right, which is currently used by developed countries in the production and distribution of vaccines, was key to the pharmaceutical industry.
He called for the development of a fiscal policy on the development of the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that the right steps are taken.