Published On: Tue, Mar 7th, 2017

Focus only on essentials, Akpa urges pharma manufacturers

As a strategy for surviving the lingering economic recession, a seasoned pharmacist has urged pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country to channel their efforts towards producing only essentials.

Speaking with Pharmanews at a recent dinner held in honour of local pharmaceutical manufacturers by the United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention in Lagos, Okey Akpa, chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) said that there was no denying that the previous year was a challenging one for both government and private businesses.

He lamented that government’s spending power had been whittled down to the consumer level.

He further disclosed how his association, whose members had invested up to 44 million dollars into factory expansion in Nigeria, had been grappling with economic recession.

Inflation is on double digits. The national currency is weak, compared to dollars and other international currencies. If you look at it carefully, you will realise that it has become a ‘double whammy.’

“Cost of production has gone up and you cannot transfer the increase in prices directly to the consumers in totality because there is weak purchasing power. Consequently, margins are diminishing and actually disappearing in some instances. It is tough all round but we are hanging in there,” he declared.

While equally bemoaning the level of retrenchment going on in the pharma sector owing to massive drop in production capacity, the pharmacist noted that most manufacturing plants were not running at full capacity.

On what could be done to salvage the situation, Akpa, a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) admitted that it was difficult to give a single advice.

“What I can advise is that people should focus only on essentials and further seek how we can collaborate and leverage on each other’s capabilities more.

“That notwithstanding, I am an incurable optimist. I have a strong belief that 2017 will be better, by the grace of God. Most of the measures being discussed and put in place now will certainly yield result and things will begin to look up. That is being highly optimistic,” he enthused.

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) is the umbrella organisation for manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and allied products in Nigeria.

Its membership is open to any pharmaceutical company established in the country that has and utilises local manufacturing facilities for the production of drugs and medicines from local and or imported raw materials.

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Focus only on essentials, Akpa urges pharma manufacturers