President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and chairman of Pharmaplus Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai has said Africa remains a fertile region for the growth of the pharmaceutical industry.
However governments must improve public health financing if the region must realize its potentials, he said.
According to him, the value of Africa’s pharmaceutical industry jumped from just $4.7 billion in 2003 to $20.8 billion in 2013.
He said the growth is continuing at a rapid pace.
Yakasai stated this in a lecture on Key Strategies to build a robust pharmaceutical sector in the African region during the 1st All Africa Clinical Trial Summit held in Lagos.
The PSN President said despite the rise in non communicable and infectious disease in Africa, the region lacks access to medicine.
“Access to medicines is a recognized and well established universal human right; but one that is far from being guaranteed for a majority of Africans,” he said, adding the pharmaceutical sector has the huge responsibility to address the challenge.
He stressed that Africa’s capacity for pharmaceutical Research and Development and local drug production is among the lowest globally.
He said, “Overall, 37 countries have some pharmaceutical production, and only South Africa has limited primary production of active pharmaceutical ingredient and intermediates.
“Local production in Africa therefore relies on imported active ingredients.
As a result, the sustainability of African pharmaceutical sector remains highly contingent on foreign funding and manufacturing.
“Africa has a hope with the new Dangote Petrochemical Company that will soon come on board.”
He listed the challenges inhibiting the growth of the pharmaceutical industry to include financial constraints; unfavourable government policies, poor regulatory framework, lack of infrastructure and social amenities, among others.
“African markets remain unattractive because most countries have poor public health financing mechanisms and their already disenfranchised populations largely resort to out-of pocket payments to finance their health care”, he said.
He pointed out that the diverse features of Africa present several opportunities for pharmaceutical development.
“There is need to build a robust pharmaceutical sector in Africa to enable the region attain the Sustainable Development Goals especially in those areas pertaining to health”, he added.
The Daily Trust News