In recognition of his contribution to the growth of pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Nigeria, a group of pharmacists have honoured Dr. Ron Piervincenzi, chief executive officer of United States Pharmacopeia (USP), with a traditional chieftaincy title.
The American was awarded the title of ‘Ekwueme 1 of Nigeria,’ arguably one of the highest ranking titles held by any non-indigene of the country.
The colourful ceremony which was held by USP officials in honour of its CEO took place on 25 July 2017, at the prestigious Renaissance Hotel and had a considerable presence of directors, chief executive officers, captains of industry and pharma stakeholders in attendance.
Addressing the audience after the traditional rite, Prince Emeka Ugwu, managing director of Nemel Pharmaceuticals, explained that the title of Ekwueme 1, which literally means ‘He who does whatever he promises,’ bestowed on the USP boss is befitting for credible personalities like Piervicenzi.
This assertion was further corroborated by Dr. Stella Okoli, chairman, Emzor Group when she said until now, no Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) or group has gone the extra mile to train pharma manufacturing professionals the way USP does.
“I will urge you to continue doing what you are doing. For the act of doing good in itself has its reward,” she urged.
In attendance were Alhaji Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm. Kunle Ekundayo, chief executive officer, Drugfield Pharma Limited; Steve Onya, managing director of Chi Pharma; Dr Ifeanyi Okoye, chief executive officer of Juhel Pharmaceuticals; Pharm Michael O. Paul, chairman of Mopson Pharmaceuticals and Varkey Verghese, managing director of Jawa Pharma.
Others were Dr. Chimezie Anyakora, USP chief of party; Pharm. Okey Akpa, PMGMAN chairman; Tosin Jolayemi, managing director, Daily Need Industries Limited; Nnamdi Okafor, managing director, May & Baker Nigeria Limited; Christiana Obiazikwor, head of public relations, NAFDAC; Nonyelum Okpagu, USP project coordinator and Adebola Adekoya, USP’s quality assurance and quality control specialist.
The United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) formed a cooperative agreement about 20 years ago to promote quality of medicine globally. This gave rise to a USP programme known as ‘Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM). Today, PQM is active in 38 countries.
In Nigeria, the PQM programme has been active for about four years. Its office was formally established two years ago in Lagos.