Dr Chimezie Anyakora, a consultant and chief of party of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) has called on the federal government to start seeing the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector as the next goldmine if it is truly serious about diversifying the economy and developing other non-oil sectors.
Speaking with Pharmanews at a recent five-day training programme held for inspectorate officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and local pharma manufacturers, Anyakora said that Nigeria needs to start emulating advanced countries like the United States, whose greatest contributor to the economy is pharmaceuticals.
Anyakora stated further that Nigeria can play a big role in the provision of needed pharmaceuticals for the whole of Africa as people in the continent need lots of medicine.
He urged pharmaceutical companies to take advantage of donor agencies donating drugs to Nigeria by positioning their companies to be the supplier.
“Let us imagine a situation where they buy these medicines with billions of dollars. The proceeds are not just for the manufacturers. They will reach those involved in packaging of the medicines and the supply chamber.
“It will stimulate a lot of activities in the country. Once we move towards that direction, hundreds of thousands of people are going to be employed indirectly. If that happens, logistics and other details will find their way into the system,” Anyakora explained.
The USP party chief predicted that if the pharma sector gets all its indices right, Nigeria’s impact would soon be felt in the global pharmaceutical market.
Themed “Advanced Good Manufacturing Practices,” the training which held at NECA House in Central Business District area of Alausa, Lagos, had a large turnout of participants.
On why the USP team decided to host both NAFDAC officials and local manufacturers under one roof, Anyakora disclosed that GMP issues cut across all spheres of the pharmaceutical industry.
“This is why we deemed it a good idea to have all of them (participants) together. They can chat, interact, ask questions and understand one another.
“We want to create an air of camaraderie so that when they meet again in the factory, they don’t begin to see each other as enemies,” he said.
According to Anyakora, the ultimate aim of United States Pharmacopeia is to make Nigeria the India of Africa, adding that this dream mission, solely funded by USAID, is gradually being achieved through USP technical lead instructors such as Teferi Bedane, an Ethopian-born world renowned GMP specialist.
USP is an independent, non-profit scientific organisation that sets quality standards for medicines in the United States that are enforceable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
USP and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) formed a cooperative agreement about 20 years ago to promote the quality of medicines globally. This gave rise to a USP programme known as Promoting the Quality of Medicines (PQM). Today, PQM is active in 38 countries.