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Nigerian pharmacists explore ways of attracting innovation into sector

…as NAIP hosts 22nd national conference

L-R     Joe Odumodu, former DG, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON); Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman, NAIP; Pharm. (Mazi) Ohuabunwa, president, PSN;  Joe Akabuike, commissioner for health, Anambra State and Pharm. (Sir) I. K. Onyechi, MD/CEO, Alpha Pharmacy Limited, during the opening ceremony.
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Nigerian pharmacists are searching for disruptive innovations that can deal with the industry’s challenges, saying strategic re-positioning of the industry will make way for more innovations, increase capacity building initiatives and maximise production of competitive products for international markets.

However, with respect to the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria, adequate health care delivery still remains a major setback.

Describing the challenges of the Nigerian Pharma Industry, Chimezie Anyakora, head of party, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) in Nigeria said that lack of vision and strategy have undermined the development of Africa’s most populous nation’s pharmaceutical sector. Other limiting factors include limited access to finance, inappropriate incentives and shortage of the requisite workforce.

“Nigeria needs to develop strategic plan and funding to advance pharmaceutical access and package of incentives to spur local manufacturing and also make significant investment in industry workforce development,” he said during the 22nd Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, (NAIP).

According to Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman NAIP, the conference is organised to discuss and come up with a work-plan that will enable the industry begin a strategic re-positioning in order to develop and produce more innovative and competitive products.

“If this is achieved, the pharmaceutical industry will be able to contribute more to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Nigeria and provide more medicines for local consumption while adding more value to her clientele,” he said.

Also speaking at the opening remarks Mazi Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) said that it was high time pragmatic steps were taken to transform the industry, noting that the PSN is ready to work with NAIP and other stakeholders to change the narrative of the pharmaceutical industry.

“Players in the pharmaceutical industry must know that there is no alternative to innovation if they want to save the industry, failure to innovate and change the way things are done in view of the present realities may lead to the death of the sector,” added Ifeanyi Okoye, group chairman/chief executive officer, Juhel Nigeria Limited who was represented by Pharm. (Sir) I. K. Onyechi

Onyechi stressed that what may even be needed is revolution and not just innovation, adding that innovation most times are not embraced willingly but as a way to stay afloat and survive. He therefore charged stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry to be ready to do what has not been done before if they really desire to get positive change they desire.

The four days conference themed, Disruptive Innovations: Unleashing The Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industry, held at the Banquet Hall of Golden Tulip Hotel, Agulu, Anambra State and also included health outreach programme in Omor Community.

“I urge the NAIP and other stakeholders that desire transformation in their sectors to always be ready to work with government to get things done, stating, that without such collaboration, not much would be achieved,” said Joe Akabuike, the commissioner for health, Anambra State said while commending the association.

 

ANTHONIA OBOKOH

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