The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development held its Presidential inaugural Health Engagement, Education and Access Discourse (HEEAD) session at the Transcorp Hilton Hotels, Abuja on Monday the 24th of June, 2019. The Discourse, which was declared open by the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, had as its theme: “Developing a Robust and Comprehensive Policy to Catalyse Pharma Industrial Development: Setting the Agenda for the Next Level.”
The maiden NIPRD-HEEAD was well attended by top government officials from the Executive and Legislative arms of government, Pharma Manufacturers and Importers, Pharmaceutical Researchers, Scientists, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Nigerian Association of Pharmacists in Academia and other major stakeholders from the public and Private sectors.
Papers presented reflected three broad perspectives in relation to the theme of the day. The first was on Actualizing the Potential of the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Sector, delivered by Mopa Esuga, Senior GMP Specialist, PQM program, USP. The second paper was titled Developing A Pharma Sector Policy: Bridging The Legislative, Executive And Industry Gap delivered by Professor Nelson Agaba Ochekpe, mni and the third and last paper centred on the Challenges And Barriers To Catalysing Pharma Industrial Development And Growth In Nigeria and was delivered by Dr. John Alfa MSc.HEcons, Ph.D (Formulations), FPSN, NPOM CEO/MD ICWS Technologies.
The forum identified a number of critical elements that constitute the enabling environment that would catalyse Pharma Industrial Development in Nigeria. These elements are made up of Right Political will and precise Health Policies and Legislations, Educational, adequate Budgetary allocations & Funding to support optimal Pharmaceutical Research and Development, the general incentive system in the pharmaceutical sector (such as tariffs for importation of machinery, exchange rates to local manufacturers and interest rates to Pharma industry, etc.) and the foreign influence on ease of knowledge sharing and transfer of technology.
The NIPRD-HEEAD considered several issues pertinent to the development of local pharmaceutical industry and the role of the Institute to serve as the nucleus to guide necessary discourse and agenda setting to actualise the vision of making Nigeria the Pharma hub of Africa.
The Forum considered the existing National Drug Policy in relation to the timely interventions by the current government particularly the Presidential Executive Order 3 and their impact on stimulating patronage on locally produced pharmaceuticals.
The Forum noted that Nigeria would have moved substantially towards actualising the goal of attaining local production of up to 70% of Essential Medicines needs, if it had pursued an aggressive development of our pharmaceutical industries technological capabilities.
The Forum also noted the urgent need to reorganise and strengthen the structures in NIPRD, so as to ensure effective focusing on new frontiers in meeting the health related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, promote access and availability of medicines and vaccines for the good health and general well-being of Nigerians.