The Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, on Friday, said local production of pharmaceuticals is the surest means of providing quick access to quality, safe and efficacious medicines.
Adeyeye made the statement in Lagos with respect to an online publication that attributed 63 per cent drop in pharmaceutical importations in two years to naira devaluation and inaccessible forex.
According to Adeyeye, the publication failed to assert that the decline in pharmaceutical imports is partly due to an increase in local production.
“As a responsible regulatory agency, it is important that NAFDAC speaks on the write-up and bring up its perspective within the context of improving access to medicines by Nigerians.
“The agency is not oblivious to the numerous challenges confronting the pharmaceutical sector in our country.
“At the recently concluded 74th World Health Assembly, the World Health Organisation emphasised the need to strengthen local production of medicines and other health technologies to improve access.
“It is in our humble opinion that in spite of the multitude of challenges confronting local pharmaceuticals, local production is the surest means of providing the quickest access to quality medicines,” she said.
Adeyeye said after the inception of the current NAFDAC administration in 2017, some policies were formulated and targeted towards enhancing the local production of pharmaceuticals in the country.
She said some of the policies that were already yielding results include the ‘Five + Five Policy’ that was aimed at the migration of previously imported products that can be manufactured locally.
Others are the expansion of the agency’s ceiling list, establishment of new pharmaceutical plants in Nigeria, NAFDAC’s tariff regime on imported products and international Certification and Risk-based classification of local drug manufacturers.
Adeyeye noted that the journey to attain the reduction of the importation of drugs by 40 per cent can be achieved if all relevant stakeholders in the industry collaborate to change the narrative.
She said, “The journey to achieve this lofty task, though a marathon, can be achieved in a very short time.
“All stakeholders and relevant government agencies in the country must collaborate to change the narratives in favour of enhancing domestic production of pharmaceuticals.”