Amid Nigeria’s abundant hydrocarbon resources, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) has said the nation must commit to producing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing to end importation.
The academy said this is pertinent, rather than relying endlessly on importing the same raw materials, especially, as it relates to local manufacturing of medicines.
President of NAPharm, Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, made the call, yesterday, during the academy’s investiture of fellows, where about 20 pharmacists were inducted.
He expressed the need for pharmacists to enlighten political leadership, including presidential aspirants, on importance of the petrochemical industry to Nigeria, having API produced in the country, and interrogating them on their plans for utilising the nation’s oil and gas deposits.
Adelusi-Adeluyi stressed the need for pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and medical professionals in the field of research and development to tap into the world of big data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to make pharmaceutical research, new drug discovery less expensive and more productive.
According to him, with AI, it is possible to test several hundreds of different chemical molecules, to create better, safer and more affordable medicines within a much shorter time frame.
He urged government to create enabling environment that makes meaningful research possible, adding that policy direction must be such that deliberately enables AI to take root and grow.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Advancing Pharmacy for Economic Prosperity in Nigeria’, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Cyril Osifoh, commended the academy, saying pharmacists are becoming more active and relevant, especially, in the political era.
He said the two pending bills at the National Assembly have passed first reading, expressing optimism that the bills will pass second reading in few days.
On reforms in the health sector, he kicked against the move for National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to become a revenue-generating entity.
According to him, if prices of drugs and medicines are to come down, government must act quickly.
Speaking on behalf of the newly inducted members, a pharmacist, Senator Sadiq Umar, pledged they will not fail in their responsibilities. He also urged the academy to do its best to reposition the sector.