Except stakeholders in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry begin to innovate towards the transformation of the industry, there may be no positive growth or production of globally competitive products and goods.
Identifying this gap, leaders of the pharmaceutical industry who gathered in Anambra State recently for the 22nd National conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, NAIP, advocated for strategic innovations and a brand new approach to transform the nation’s pharmaceutical industry for maximum growth. They remarked that transformation of the pharmaceutical industry and its repositioning for maximum growth, required paradigm shift and disruptive innovations.
Speaking on the theme: “Disruptive Innovations: Unleashing The Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industry”, National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa said it was high time pragmatic steps were taken to transform the industry, even as he stated that the PSN was collaborating with NAIP and other stakeholders to change the narrative of the pharmaceutical industry.
Ohuabunwa also disclosed that he had mandated the PSN Research Documentation and Industry Liaison Committee to work with NAIP to fast track the process of implementing ideas that will transform the industry. In his own remarks, the National Chairman, NAIP, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu said the conference was organised to come up with a work-plan that would enable the industry kick-start a strategic re-positioning in order to develop and produce more innovative and competitive products.
Anukwu said that if the goal is achieved, the pharmaceutical industry would be well positioned to contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide more medicines for local consumption while adding more value to her clientele.
He advocated for the establishment of pharmaceutical industrial parks and urged the Anambra State government to provide a portion of the space at its proposed industrial park for the pharmaceutical sector. In a response, the Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike said the state government was ready to provide the enabling environment for industrial growth. He however, pledged that the State was finalising the process of creating an industrial hub so that pharmacists can be allocated space in the planned pharmaceutical industrial park noting that, the hub will be provided with all needed infrastructures for industrial production as demanded by local pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The NAIP boss appealed to the government to provide arable land for cultivation of medicinal plants, stressing that many extracts of the nation’s indigenous plants are being used for the production of nutraceuticals all over the world.
Delivering the conference keynote address, guest speaker, Dr. Anyakora who lamented that 70 percent of finished pharmaceutical products used in Nigeria are imported, also stressed the urgent need for a paradigm shift to unleash the Nigerian pharmaceutical workforce, adding that access to pharmaceuticals must be prioritised in healthcare and industrial policies of the country.
He however, urged stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector to develop strategic plan and funding to advance pharmaceutical access, stating that it is also imperative to make significant investment in pharmaceutical workforce development.
Anyakora also asked stakeholders to develop a pharmaceutical development and bio-economic roadmap and package incentives to spur local manufacturing. While also presenting a paper at the conference on the topic: Making Nigeria Africa’s Pharmaceutical Hub Through Private Sector Initiatives, Prof. Emeje said that Nigeria must rise up and accelerate the pace of drug discovery through convergence of technology, noting that African governments and the pharmaceutical industries must express their willingness and commitment to support the partnership for the enhancement of pharmaceutical and health sectors in Africa.
By Chigbu Nwaobia