The 89th Annual National Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, the umbrella association of all registered pharmacists in the country has been scheduled to hold from November 7 through 12, 2016 in Minna, Niger State according to reports posted on the associations website PSN Conference National Development.
Pharmaceutical Industry Contribution to National Development
We congratulate the PSN leadership for anchoring the 2016 edition of the conference on the theme: Pharmaceutical Industry Contribution to National Development. The conference theme carries patriotic flavour and could not have come at a more auspicious moment than now – that the economy of Nigeria is fast heading south.
There is no doubt that the pharma industry occupies a pride of place in any nation because it has the potential of contributing significantly to the socio-economic growth of any country that recognises its importance and invests in it. After all, the annual global performance of the industry according to reports stood at $1.1 trillion as at 2014.
Countries like India and China that recognised the potentials in the pharma sub-sector among the hitherto third world countries have developed it to a level whereby proceeds from export of pharmaceutical products and services accruing to government coffers are staggering into billions of dollars annually, and that is aside generation of employment of huge population of both countries’ nationals.
Designing and implementation of good policies by authorities in the governments of India and China is one of the contributing factors to the impressive development of the pharma sub-sector in both countries. Sadly, the case is not the same with Nigeria where policy summersault and lack of political will to implement policies had kept the sub-sector in limbo for years.
Indeed, stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sub-sector had made several presentations to successive administrations with a list of demands on the way forward for the development of the industry and profession in the country, but their pleas are yet to yield fruits.
We believe that if the presentations that would be made at the forth-coming Annual National Conference of PSN would toe the line of previous outings, then PSN may be disappointed at the end. But if the discussions of this year’s edition of the conference will dwell on articulation of new ideas that are creative in content and also in tandem with the policy direction and vision of the present administration, then PSN may get a mileage with the authorities in government.
PSN Conference National Development
We say so because given the economic outlook in Nigeria today – that is seemingly prostrate, we do not see the possibility of the incumbent administration that has publicly declared that it is broke giving listening ear to barrage of demands from any sector of the national economy no matter how strategic the sector may be.
Therefore, harping on such issues like provision of intervention funds by government is in order, but the creativity of operators in driving the pharma industry is most desirable because it is the creativity that is needed to maximise effective use of funds on one hand and to develop ideas that will help get the industry and profession out of the woods.
To this end, we suggest that the nation’s brightest in the pharmaceutical sub-sector who would be attending the conference devote more time in espousing enduring solutions to the challenges of the moment. PSN cannot continue to allow the inability of government to address relevant demands made by it to derail the future of the industry and profession. The time has come when we desperately need to open up the space.
It may not be out of fashion for drivers of pharmaceutical businesses in the country to begin to look inwards with a view to seeking strategic alliances with overseas companies because unusual challenges demand desperate solutions. Alliances have worked in most sectors including the pharma sub sector around the world.
We recommend the search and dusting of the industrialisation policy document articulated by the former Director-General of NAFDAC, late Prof. Dora Akunyili, for the pharma industry and which suffered set back due to lack of support occasioned by intrigues in the system, with a view to facilitating its adoption.
Therefore, the success of this year’s outing by the PSN may be measured on the quality of ideas shared and the imperatives of the contributions made in the august assembly towards bailing the pharmaceutical sub-sector out of imminent danger.