To help players in the pharmaceutical industry cope better with challenges facing the sector this year, the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) recently hosted stakeholders of the industry at a forum to articulate survival strategies, amidst the challenges facing the sector and the fresh hurdle of the new fiscal and monetary policies of government.
Tagged, “The Implications of Federal Government’s Monetary & Fiscal Policies for the Pharmaceutical Industry in 2017″, the forum was held at MAN Centre, Ikeja, Lagos and chaired by Dr Fidelis Ayebae, MD/CEO, Fidson Healthcare Plc.
Speaking at the event, National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. ‘Gbenga Falabi, lamented that the hike in tariff on some selected pharma products towards the end of 2016 through the Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) turned the pharmaceutical sector upside down.
Falabi further noted that the new 20 per cent duty on imported pharma products had forced drug importers to increase the price of pharma products, thereby making life more difficult for the common man.
The NAIP boss revealed that the association had participated at a stakeholders’ forum called to look into ways of engaging government on the IAT policy, especially at this austere times, adding that the stakeholder’s resolution was that the government should revisit the policy.
The government, the NAIP chairman said, was being urged to adopt an evolutionary and graduated approach on all pharma products that the local manufacturers have installed capacity to produce, while allowing for time for those without local capacity to develop over time in order to safeguard local manufacturers from unfair and unhealthy competition from imports.
Pharmaceutical industry activities, Falabi emphasised, are always geared towards ensuring the accessibility and availability of affordable and wholesome medicines for the voiceless and most times helpless patients, who look towards the makers and distributors of medicines to provide them with quality drugs whenever they need such.
Mr Opeyemi Agbaje, CEO, RTC Advisory Services Limited, who made a presentation on the theme of the event, urged pharmaceutical industry stakeholders to work together and come up with an industry-focused strategy that can help move the industry from an import-dependent sector to producers of 70 per cent drugs needed by Nigerians.
Mr Agbaje noted that while not being ignorant of the demands of the task, it was imperative for the pharma industry to pursue it and move from just selling commodities to creating and selling values.
Speaking earlier in his welcome address at the event, Dr Fidelis Ayebae commended NAIP for organising the event, adding that having spent 22 years in the pharma industry, he can confidently say that the NAIP is a very proactive leader of the various groups in the pharmaceutical sector.
Amongst the dignitaries at the occasion were, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, MD, Pharmanews Limited; Dr Lolu Ojo, immediate past national chairman, NAIP; and Pharm. (Mrs) Biola Paul Ozieh, chairman, ACPN in Lagos State.