– As Ilorin hosts NAIP 21st national confab
Professor Moji Adeyeye, director general, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has bemoaned the continual absence of inspectors at the seaports, saying it is making things easier for fake drug merchants to bring in sundry products into the country.
Speaking at the historic national conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) held at Kwara Hotel, Ilorin on 18 April, the NAFDAC boss declared that despite confiscating truckloads and containers of fake drugs from greedy and unscrupulous elements, there is an urgent need to tighten the nation’s porous borders.
Adeyeye, who was the keynote speaker at the conference themed: “Imperatives for National Drug Security”, also stated that the huge dependence of the nations’ health system on imported medicines, chaotic drug distribution, and the presence of the open drug markets are serious challenges that must be properly addressed.
She decried the high volume of pharmaceutical importation, noting that it is inappropriate that local manufacturers only produce 20 to 30 per cent of the nation’s drug needs.
The NAFDAC boss declared that the situation calls for more commitment from governments at all levels and other stakeholders to ensure national drug security.
Urging local pharmaceutical manufacturers to collaborate and manufacture Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), locally through partnership with foreign allies, she equally charged the Nigerian government to support local manufacturers through access to loans, pharmaceutical raw materials and needed infrastructure.
Meanwhile Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, governor of Kwara State has canvassed stiffer penalties for importers of fake and substandard in the country.
Speaking through his deputy chief of staff, Mr Leke Ogungbe, Ahmed explained that the significance of Kwara State in the Nigerian health sector is huge.
“Aside from having great pharma brands like Tuyil Pharmaceuticals, Bioraj Pharma, Peace Standard Pharmaceuticals among others, Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was here last year to commission MAH Healthcare, a-state-of-the-art health institution.
“In the meantime, this administration together with the cooperation of Kwara State pharmacists will continue to provide good and quality healthcare to my people,” he reassured.
Applauding the gesture of the governor, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) remarked that he shared the same view as the governor.
To further highlight the burgeoning nature of Kwara pharma industry, the NAIP helmsman added that it was heartwarming to note that all NAIP members in the state were manufacturers, not importers.
“However I implore His Excellency (Gov. Ahmed) to help allocate a parcel of land to build a secretariat for NAIP members in the State,” he said.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the national conference, Anukwu noted that the four-day confab was designed to deliver three key objectives namely: to create an atmosphere free from distractions for industrial pharmacists to deliberate on pertinent topical issues around the theme of the conference; to create room for networking and recreation that would forge stronger bonds of camaraderie among his members; and to expose younger generation of pharmacists and pharmacists-to-be to the workings of NAIP.
In a related development, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has sent a goodwill message to the leadership of the association.
Speaking through the national secretary, Pharm. Emeka Duru, Yakasai lauded NAIP for a successful national conference being the first time such would be hosted outside Lagos after 41 years.
The four-day conference featured a welcome cocktail, courtesy visit to Kwara State governor, excursion to Esien Museum, presentation of awards, and a walk against fake drugs, led by Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, wife of the state governor.
Other dignitaries who attended the event were Pharm. Peter Iliya, deputy director, public relations, Pharmacists Councils of Nigeria (PCN); Dr Obalolu Ojo, former NAIP chairman; Pharm. Ade Popoola, managing director, Reals Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Gbenga Falabi, immediate past president, NAIP; Pharm. Emma Ekunno, former managing director, Neimeth Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Michael Heavens, chairman, conference planning committee and Pharm. Chinedu Nwuliu, 2nd national vice chairman, NAIP.
Others included Dr Matthew Okedare, deputy speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly; Pharm. Lasisi Durowoju, chairman, NAIP (Kwara Chapter); Pharm. Gbenga Bambe, technical director, Tuyil Pharmaceuticals; Pharm. Emeka Adimoha, superintendent pharmacist, Shalina Healthcare; Mrs Roseline Ajayi, deputy director, Kwara State coordinator, NAFDAC; Kishin Murjani, managing director, Biomedical Limited and Dr. Kamaldeen Abu-saeed, superintendent pharmacist, Peace Standard Pharmaceutical Industries Limited.