Support local vaccines production, pharmacists beg govt

Pharmaceutical scientists under the aegis of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria have appealed to the federal government to support and create an enabling environment for the production of local vaccines and drugs needed by the populace.

The pharmacists who spoke at the 25th Annual National Conference of the industrial pharmacists held in Lagos noted that if those steps were taken, Nigeria would not only achieve drug security but also succeed in its quest to produce vaccines locally.

‘‘The local pharmaceutical industry can produce the drugs and vaccines needed by Nigerians if the government provides the enabling environment for the sector and support the operations of the sector with good policies as done by the developed countries,’’ it said.

Speaking at the conference themed, ‘The roles of industrial pharmacists in a depressed economy: Opportunities, challenges and solutions in providing essential drugs,’ the chairman/CEO, Juhel Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited, Dr Ifeanyi Okoye, said that the availability of essential drugs was key to the health of any nation.

Okoye who was the keynote speaker at the conference said that the Nigerian pharmaceutical market, currently estimated to be about 2.5 billion dollars has the potential to supply 40 per cent of drugs needed by the African pharmaceutical market.

He urged the government to work with drug companies to overcome commercial obstacles.

Okoye called for technology transfer, noting that it would help local manufacturers to go into the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Also speaking at the conference, the National Chairman of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ken Onuegbu, stressed that Nigeria must move from an import-dependent nation to a self-sufficient country in the provision of essential medicines.

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