ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – The deputy Governor of Imo, Placid Njoku, has urged indigenous pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria to use medicinal local plants and herbs as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in producing their drugs.
Mr. Njoku made the call at the launch of a new antibiotics brand in Lagos.
The Deputy Governor maintained that many herbs could serve as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), which make up the majority of over 70 per cent of imported drugs.
Consequently, he encouraged local manufacturing companies to leverage it and make the country a less import-dependent country.
He said that Nigeria, with its population, depended on countries like India, China, Germany, United States, Pakistan, and the Netherlands for 70 per cent of its drug needs, spending billions of naira.
Mr. Njoku lamented that despite a large pharmaceutical subsector in the country, with at least 100 manufacturing companies, Nigeria only serviced about 30 per cent of local medical needs, resulting in high importation of drugs and exposure to counterfeit medicines.
“For instance, the country imports over N200 billion of malaria drugs and about N600 billion of antibiotics every year.
“In one quarter of 2021, it imported about N395 billion worth of antibiotics to battle diseases associated with COVID-19.”
He noted that the total amount the country spent on importing drugs exposed the country to international drug risks while essentially funding the pharmaceutical industry of other countries worldwide.
Also speaking at the event, Jimi Agbaje, a pharmacist, said there was a need for the government to make the right policies and provide the necessary support to drive Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry appreciably.
According to him, the industry records slow progress because many manufacturers find it difficult to break even let alone make profit due to unfavourable climate.
He identified huge operational costs, limited raw materials, power supply, and unfriendly government policies as factors hindering production processes.
The managing director of May & Baker Nigeria, Patrick Ajah, also lamented the major challenges of pharmaceutical manufacturers, which included poor power supply.