The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) has reiterated its commitment to charting the way forward for the pharmaceutical sector by helping pharmacists manage the impacts of government’s macroeconomic policies on the pharmaceutical industry.
The national chairman of the association Pharm. (Prince) ’Gbenga Falabi, disclosed this while making his opening remarks at the first 2015 NAIP bimonthly general meeting/lecture, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, recently.
According to the NAIP helmsman, the quest of the association to help surmount the numerous challenges facing the pharmaceutical sector prompted the decision of NAIP to bring Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, a distinguished business coach, to speak to members at the event.
In his presentation, Dr Ogunbiyi, who is the group managing director of Mutual Benefit Assurance Plc, observed that the pharmaceutical industry is faced with a number of challenges, including drug counterfeiting, unfavourable macroeconomic policies, unlicensed/unqualified pharmaceutical practitioners and limited spending power of citizens.
The guest speaker also listed poor infrastructure, inadequate and inefficient financing, high registration fees for imports, as well as the absence of meaningful patent legislation, as part of the challenges.
Ogunbiyi, however, noted that despite the challenges, opportunities still abound in the industry due to the growing demography, export opportunities in the ECOWAS region, efforts of NAFDAC to reduce counterfeiting and the renewed interest of the government in the healthcare system.
The Mutual Benefit Assurance helmsman lamented that despite the importance of the pharmaceutical sector to healthcare and general development of the country, the sector had not been well positioned.
He flayed the inability of operators in the industry to be entrepreneurial, their aversion for risk and their inability to attract private investors to the sector.
Preferring the way forward, Ogunbiyi urged operators to improve entrepreneurship, arguing that the current training in pharmaceutical sciences does not adequately prepare registered pharmacists for the business of pharmacy, adding that there was need for re-training of pharmacists as business managers.
He further advocated the development of the local chemical industry to reduce dependency on imported Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), while also suggesting active participation of pharmacists in politics to shape the policies affecting the industry.
The guest speaker also urged pharmacists to invest in research and development, as well as getting the WHO GMP certification. He equally urged all pharmacists to work together in cooperation and be creative in initiating innovative strategies to make the system better.
Pharm. Okey Akpa, the chairman of the occasion, while making his remarks, said the guest speaker had challenged pharmacists to strive to continue to make a difference. He however, noted that the current environment is a challenge, noting that everywhere an industry had grown, policies must be improved.
While noting that there was enterprise in the industry, he argued that political will was critical to getting things right, lamenting that there was no enabling environment for Pharmacy to thrive.
He further urged pharmacists to begin to look into partnership. “We must begin to come together. We cannot run singularly and expect to make progress,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Pharm. (Sir) Nnamdi Obi, managing director/CEO, Embassy Pharmaceuticals& Chemicals Limited, equally lamented the environmental problem.
He noted that pharmacists were not bereft of ideas nor incompetent on how to get things done but were operating in a very difficult environment.
Hehowever urged pharmacists not to relent on their efforts to get things right in spite of the environmental challenges, adding that pharmacists couldmake a huge difference in the industry. “We are the ones that will be the architect of our fortune and/or misfortune,” he said.