Import of drugs and pharmaceuticals present growth opportunities and Nigeria is partnering with India to improve patients’ access to medicine as Africa’s most populous nation develops manufacturing capabilities.
Experts say the pharmaceutical sector has great potential if access to high quality drugs in Nigeria it to be attained. This was highlighted at the 3rd International Exhibition for Pharma and Healthcare (iPHEX Africa) in Nigeria held on 14th- 15th of March where investment outlook for the industry took front burner.
“Import of drugs and pharmaceuticals from India play an important role in the drug distribution chain in Nigeria. However, promotion and collaboration with high level bilateral exhibition would clear the way for Nigerian pharmaceuticals to get greater market access and penetration in India,” said Mojisola Adeyeye, director general National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Adeyeye said that the essence of the iPHEX Africa expo is to introduce different products from Indian manufacturers to Nigeria and also to interact with the manufacturers, letting them know that they are ready to partner with Nigerians for local production.
“We want to build a strong bilateral relationship with the regulators in India and we are also working toward reducing about 70 percent of drugs that are been imported to Nigeria with finished goods to about 30 percent.”
“We cannot have a universal healthcare especially in medicine without local manufacturing, I encourage us to embrace partnership we cannot do it alone,” she urged.
Nigeria’s predominantly informal distribution and retail networks, counterfeit and parallel medicines are often difficult to deal with. However, opportunities exist for investors to take advantage of the gap in Africa’s largest economy.
“Nigeria is one of the most important exporting destinations for India in the Africa region with $418 million worth of exports in 2014-15. We have contributed high technology and expertise on board to the industry hence the collaboration,” said Udaya Bhaskar, director general Pharmexcil.
Bhaskar said there has been consistency in pharmaceutical export to Nigeria and India for the past 8-9 years.
“Investment as pharma is concern is not the best type, but there is a potential that is why we are encouraging Nigeria pharmaceuticals to collaborate so as to establish the manufacturing industry,” he said.
Bhaskar also spoke on counterfeit and fake drugs stating that the issue is a global problem “fake drugs are concerned not only in phrama but in all commodities, there is a counterfeiting” hence he urged NAFDAC to address the issues of registration.