NAFDAC Must Further Encourage Local Pharma Manufacturers, Says Troop Pharmacy Boss

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– As company marks 21st anniversary with free health screening, education

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) needs to do more, not just as a regulator but as a business facilitator, if Nigeria is to reduce its overdependence on foreign medicines, Pharm. Chizomam Emeje, managing director/CEO, Troop Pharmacy & Stores Limited, has said.

Speaking with Pharmanews in an exclusive interview during a recent event organised to mark the 21st anniversary of Troop Pharmacy at its head office in Okota, Lagos, Emeje explained that while NAFDAC is doing well as a regulator, the agency needs to improve on how it treats genuine local manufacturers by reducing the bottlenecks that cause avoidable delays in the registration processes which is a great source of frustration and discouragement.

Pharm. Akabuogu Trinity, personal assistant to Troop Pharmacy MD, Pharm. Bokowe Anita, intern pharmacist, Troop Pharmacy and Pharm. Chizoman Emeje, managing director/CEO, Troop Pharmacy and Stores, during the event.

Emeje, whose company also engages in local pharmaceutical manufacturing through contract manufacturing, said doing pharmacy business in Nigeria is tough because of the stifling operating environment, adding that if the government can solve the problem of poor power supply alone, it would be a great help to manufactures.

On what prompted the decision of the company to go into local manufacturing, the Troop Pharmacy boss said the company was determined to contribute to availability of affordable quality medicines for Nigerians, adding that this informed its choice of first product to manufacture locally – Troop C, a chewable ascorbic acid.

Emeje added that the company aims to have its own manufacturing facility soon, noting that this would help the quest to make Troop Pharmacy not just a household name in Lagos but in Africa and beyond.

Cross section of participants at the health screening.

On how the company had managed to survive over the past 21 years, the Troop Pharmacy founder said that aside from divine support, her husband, Dr Emeje, had been of tremendous help in sustaining the business, noting that if not for his support, she would probably have backed out as a result of the many challenges the business had to faced over the years.

The highlight of the anniversary was the free health screening and health education lecture for residents of Ikota in Lagos.  Those who came out to participate at the event benefited from free eye screening, blood pressure check, lipid profile test, random/fasting blood sugar test, body composition monitor test and health counselling.

At the one-day event, themed “Troop – Providing Better Healthcare”, a physician, an ophthalmologist and a number of pharmacists attended to people that came out for the exercise and also gave health talk to residents on how to maintain good health and prevent health problems.

Emeje disclosed that although the company had always run free health screening for people in the community through the Troop Health Information Services, it decided to make it big for the 21st anniversary to ensure many more people in the community benefitted from the services.

She disclosed further that the health talk was to educate people to imbibe the habit of going for regular health screening and not wait till they are sick before knowing their health status, adding that there are several health conditions that could be better managed if discovered early.

The Troop Pharma founder also advised people living with chronic health conditions like diabetes to embrace the culture of regular test to know how they are faring with their medications and the treatment they are getting from physicians.

On the reason for screening people for glaucoma, Emeje disclosed that the eye condition is on the rise, noting that many people with the condition and on the verge of blindness unfortunately do not know they have it.

She added that many people with glaucoma had been discovered during the  screening, adding that community pharmacists can do a lot to help with health screening and health education, in line with WHO’s recommendation.

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