The Nigerian pharmaceutical industry has managed to keep afloat in a really harsh financial surroundings. The companies within the industry have tried to innovate amid little coverage support.
Juhel, an Awka, Anambra State-based mostly drug maker, just lately unveiled a brand new Oxytocin injection for pregnant womenthe first of its sort in Africa.
Drugfield Prescription drugs Restricted has a product referred to as Chlorhexidine gel, which takes care of the umbilical wire.
Equally, SKG Pharma has regionally produced amino acid and nutritional vitamins first of their sort in Africa. Additionally Each day Want Industries has produced Amoxicillin Dispersible Tablets (DT), used for the treatment of pneumonia. Extra so, Could &Baker and Fidson have innovated distinctive solutionsfor the Nigerian and African markets.
Could&Baker hasa three way partnership challenge with Federal Authorities to produce vaccines regionally. The corporate has alsoentered into an understanding with the Federal Institute of Industrial Analysis Oshodi (FIIRO)for the commercialisation of a sickle cell complement produced by the institute.
Up to now, three companies within the industry have obtained the World Well being Organisation(WHO)’s pre-qualification needed for worldwide competitors and competitiveness.
The WHO certification was initially excellent news for the industry that a lot sought it with grit, mind and brawn.
However peculiar issues imply the industry is but to get pleasure from any vital acquire from the prequalification.
Already, two out of three companies which have obtained it usually are not in a wholesome state.
Evans Medical Plc is without doubt one of the three which acquired the pre-qualification amid pomp and ceremony. However it was taken over by the defunct Skye Financial institution and the tier-one First Financial institution in 2017.
The drug maker had invested vastly on the highway to buying the sought-after WHOs prequalification, which gave it a chance to take part in worldwide bids.
However the dream of consolidating its worldwide presence grew to become a mirage because the bankers got here for the jugular after a July 4, 2017 courtroom order necessitated by mortgage default.
Swiss Pharma is one other firm to obtain this feat. In truth, it was the primary firm to achieve this in 2014. Nevertheless, it offered its belongings to Biogaran-Servier in March 2017. These conversant in the corporate earlier than its exit mentioned the sale to the French firm was based mostly on monetary disaster.
The pharmaceutical industry has been onerous hit by numerous components. One is lack of funding, which has uncovered the likes of Evans Medicals to humongous money owed it couldn’t repay. Other than funding, the industry can also be onerous hit by excessive manufacturing value, which makes its medicine dearer than imported ones. Value of manufacturing occupies 30 to 40 p.c of their expenditure because the companies spend rather a lot on power, water, analysis and growth in addition to uncooked supplies. A lot of the uncooked supplies utilized by these drug makers are imported as a result of Africa’s most largest financial system doesn’t have a robust petrochemical industry that ought to produce resins and excipients.
Okey Akpa, chief government officer of SKG Pharma and former chairman of the Pharmaceutical Producers Group of the Producers Affiliation of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), mentioned that increasedimport of medicines jeopardises Nigerias drug and nationwide safety.
Nearly each uncooked materials on this sector has a excessive import dependency ratio. When you then face the shortage of foreign exchange like we do have on this nation, it poses additional problem, Akpa instructed BusinessDay in 2019.
Akpa mentioned the industry wanted an pressing support to save Nigeria throughout emergencies.
The world is at present dealing with an unprecedented disaster precipitated by covid-19, which has hit virtually 400,000 individuals internationally amid 1000’s of deaths.
Nigeria already has up to 46 confirmed instances and there are fears of the virus spreading extra within the coming weeks.
Sadly, the pharmaceutical industry is just not prepared. No producer produces any of the masks or ventilators within the nation. Even hand sanitizers are produced by few producers.
Fidelis Ayabae, chairman of Pharmaceutical Producers Group of the Producers Affiliation of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), mentioned neglect of the industry over time had been Nigerias largest weak level in battle in opposition to coronavirus.
Now we have the capability to produce all this stuff, however we aren’t manufacturing them as a result of it’s uninteresting and unprofitable to achieve this. The financial system is open to all types of imported merchandise which can make native merchandise costly, Ayabae mentioned.
The industrys capability utilisation is barely 47 p.c, in accordance to MAN, and solely few gamers are actually wholesome.
In 2014, corporations like Emzor, GSK, and numerous others earned $7.708 million from export of medicines to the African market, in accordance to the Worldwide Commerce Centre (ITC). 4 years later, nevertheless, the businesses made solely $708,000 regardless of Naira weakening by 81 p.c.
With inhabitants progress and decreased drug export, drug importers have raised their sport, bringing in all types of medicines into the financial system, with imports standing at $513.9 million in 2018, as in opposition to $397.eight million in 2014 and$492 million in 2016.
Akpa advocatesfor a proper coverage to appeal to investments on this space, which is capital intensive.
There have to be a interval for buyers to recoup their investments. There additionally have to be good safety. I name it good safety as a result of if somebody units up a manufacturing facility and produces in a excessive-value surroundings like ours, and you continue to permit unregulated importation of what he’s producing in a means that he can’t promote, he can’t maintain his investments. I’ll like to refer to that as good safety.
He argued that the industries confronted the infrastructural problem, which have to be instantly addressed.
This industry is but to be aggressive. If its not aggressive, then it’s set to face challenges once you throw it open or face emergencies, he mentioned.
Greater than 120 pharmaceutical companies have invested about N500 billion into the financial system. Dangote Petrochemicals is within the offing, however analysts say the nation wants at the very least 5 of such. The Central Financial institution of Nigeria (CBN) final Wednesday introduced N1.1 trillion intervention fund to support producers and well being-associated sectors. It had earlier authorized N50 billion low-cost credit score for small companies and pharmaceutical companies.
One participant within the industry requested for a particular, everlasting fund for the industry.
Ayabae, on his half, mentioned Nigeria should now emulate India and China who had to shield native producers to making importation tough or extra espensive.
However Sam Ohuabunwa,president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), saidthe pharmaceutical industry ought to search to enhance its relevance and be much less depending on importation.
We must be much less depending on imported inputs, he mentioned. Let the industry spend extra time to develop native inputs for manufacturing.We should start to assume how we may be extra self-ample, he suggested.
He mentioned Nigeria was not doing ample public consciousness in regards to the covid-19 virus, stressing the necessity to fight it to save lives.
We will see that the financial system is asking for higher introspection. What can we do for ourselves if the exterior surroundings is getting tough and doing enterprise with China is getting tough? What are these issues we are able to do to meet with our wants in medicine manufacturing? he requested.