Leading health professionals, policy makers, and captains of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria graced the 17th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) and discussed how to surmount the numerous challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and the health sector.
Among dignitaries at the event were Dr Dayo Adeyanju, commissioner for health, Ondo State; Pharm. NAE Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria; Dr Monica Eimunjeze, deputy director, registration and regulations, NAFDAC; and Pharm. Kunle Ekundayo, managing director/CEO, Drugfield Pharmaceuticals.
The two-day widely attended event, held at the Welcome Centre & Hotels, Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, Isolo, Lagos, with the theme: “Tapping the opportunities in the Pharma Industry for Wealth Creation” started with a colourful opening ceremony chaired by Mr Nicholas Okoye, CEO, Anabel Group, who was represented by Mr Sijuade Seriki.
In his welcome address at the event, Prince Gbenga Falabi, national chairman of NAIP, flayed the current professional-facility-owner model in the pharmaceutical and health sectors, stating that it was responsible for the numerous cottage industries, inadequately funded hospitals and pharmacies that Nigerians are forced to patronise.
Falabi noted that while Nigerian doctors want to own hospitals and pharmacists want to own their pharmacies, professional bankers do not own banks and companies in the oil and gas industries are not owned by petroleum engineers, adding that if the current ownership trend continues, it would be difficult for investors to come into the pharmaceutical and health sectors with the mega money required to build strong and vibrant institutions and enterprises.
He further argued that the professional-facility-owner model must give way to a more desirable structure such as chain or franchise networks in the healthcare sector. He hinted that the desire of NAIP to effect a change and open up the healthcare sector prompted the association to invite Mr Nicholas Okoye, a renowned entrepreneur, to chair the conference, as well as the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, to deliver the keynote address.
The NAIP boss also bemoaned the activities of drug counterfeiters, describing them as robbers of prosperity and killers of the Nigerian health sector, adding that their nefarious activities were making Nigerians to lose trust and confidence in the health sector.
He, however, praised NAFDAC, adding that the agency had contributed in no small way in helping to restore confidence in the health sector.
While also speaking at the Town Hall Meeting organised on the second day of the conference, NAFDAC Director General, Dr Paul Orhii, who was represented by Dr Monica Eimunjeze, said that the agency was working to enhance collaboration, which is very crucial to ensuring success in the health sector and safeguarding the health of the nation.
Orhii said NAFDAC was looking forward to strengthening existing collaboration, while remaining committed to providing an enabling environment and ensuring the effective execution of the agency’s mandate.
He assured that NAFDAC was supporting the local pharmaceutical sector and working hard to build appropriate capacity to produce world class drugs and reduce the nation’s dependence on drug/medicine imports.
Other dignitaries at the occasion include Dr Lolu Ojo, the immediate past national chairman of NAIP; Pharm. Clare Omatseye, managing director, JNC International Ltd; Mr Femi Soremekun, managing director, Biofem Pharmaceuticals and Pharm. Gbenga Olubowale, chairman, PSN, Lagos State.