The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with 12 local pharmaceutical manufacturers and eight drug management organisations. The agreement is to ensure a steady supply of quality and affordable medicines across healthcare centres.
The signed deal means the selected manufacturers will produce and brand 33 drugs with NHIA inscription. It also reduces the cost of the drugs by up to 50 percent to make them more affordable for enrollees.
This initiative follows incessant complaints by enrollees in the health insurance pool about the poor quality of medicines or their unavailability in health facilities.
The new agreement entered with local manufacturers is expected to address the problem of out-of-stock syndrome and facilitate the supply of affordable, acceptable, accessible, available, and quality medicines and other health products.
The authority is prioritising what it termed as ‘simple drugs’ in this phase; they include those drugs that aim to treat prevailing healthcare conditions such as malaria, respiratory tract infection, childhood illness, antenatal and post-natal care, and the like.
Mohammed Sambo, the director general of the NHIA, speaking at the MoU signing ceremony in Abuja informed that the manufacturers will unveil the first set of drugs in the next month.
“All manufacturers are accredited. In the next month, they will come up with the first brand of drug so that every enrollee will be prescribed those medicines. We have negotiated the prices with the manufacturers to the extent that the Intravenous (IV) fluid which has become a thorn in the flesh of the service delivery at healthcare facility levels will be crashed by 50 percent. This is unprecedented”, he said.
“Every drug cost will be crashed, but there are variations. The prices have been negotiated”, he further said, but expressed concerns raised by manufacturers over rising inflation.
The DG, therefore informed the Authority will seek government support to sustain the affordability of the drugs.
He said the NHIA has chosen seven states including Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Niger, Osun, and Sokoto states, and the FCT for the pilot phase of implementation of this initiative.
Sambo further enthused that the initiative is geared towards the strengthening of local pharmaceutical manufacturers, which will ultimately guarantee medicine security in Nigeria.