Global pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi, has signed a contract manufacturing agreement with leading Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturer, May & Baker Plc. Under the terms of the agreement, May & Baker will henceforth manufacture some of Sanofi’s products hitherto imported into Nigeria.
Speaking during the official contract signing ceremony held at Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, and chaired by Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Folake Odediran, general manager & country chair, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, said that the partnership with May & Baker was a reflection of Sanofi’s commitment to Nigeria and the company’s long-term view to continually serve the healthcare needs of the citizens.
She noted that the policy direction set by the federal government was to assure national drug security through self-sufficiency in supply of essential medicines, adding that to achieve this, the government had chosen the noble path of building local capability and expertise for sustainable growth.
Sanofi, Odediran said, understands that local sourcing of essential medicines is central to achieving government’s objectives, adding that the company remains committed to this noble aspiration.
The formal signing of the contract manufacturing agreement with May& Baker, she said, is a proof of Sanofi’s commitment to localisation, noting that the company will continue to contribute its quota towards availability of very efficacious, high-quality made-in-Nigeria medicines.
Odediran opined further that building a strategic partnership with May & Baker Nigeria Plc to support local manufacturing was based on May & Baker’s rich history of producing high quality medicines in Nigeria, adding that the agreement had been preceded by rigorous due-diligence exercise and successful compliance outcomes in line with local laws and Sanofi’s global policies.
Also speaking at the event, Pharm. Nnamdi Okafor, managing director/CEO, May & Baker Plc, said that the partnership between the two companies was significant for the health sector and the Nigerian nation, disclosing that there had been a long history and relationship between May & Baker and Sanofi.
Okafor, while expressing happiness with the contract-signing ceremony, stated that the journey of the partnership and collaboration with Sanofi started three years ago when May & Baker started manufacturing two products for Sanofi. He said that with the agreement, two more products of Sanofi will now be manufactured by his company through contract manufacturing.
The May & Baker boss said that the collaboration between the two companies is a partnership of quality, noting that May & Baker’s factory, set up in 2011, is not just the biggest in West Africa but in the whole of Africa.
He disclosed further that out of the pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities granted the WHO certification in 2014 in Nigeria, the May & Baker’s Pharma Centre is not just still standing but actually waxing stronger.
Okafor stated further that making the Pharma Centre available to Sanofi, a company that is quality-conscious was great and urged other companies to follow the footsteps of Sanofi and take advantage of the opportunity and capacity available at Pharma Centre to manufacture their drugs, locally instead of importing.
Earlier in his welcome address, the chairman of the occasion, Mazi Ohuabunwa said he was quite joyful that the song of local manufacturing which he had been singing for a long time was finally being heard, noting that he had always posited that local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals was the only way to ensure drug security for the nation.
He said while it may be difficult to produce all the medicines needed by the nation, the starting point and a target already set was to produce 50 per cent of the nation’s drug needs, adding that by having more of such collaborations, as the one between Sanofi and May & Baker, a company with quality pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, it will make achieving the goal easier.
The special guest of honour, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, director general of NAFDAC, who was represented by Dr Monica Eimunjeze, said that the Agency was quite pleased and proud of the collaboration for local drug manufacturing by Snofi and May & Baker, adding that national drug security would be impossible without strengthening local drug manufacturing.
She said that NAFDAC hoped that the partnership between the two reputable companies would be the beginning of many of such collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry, noting that the agency would continue to build confidence in regulation which would further help build confidence in regulated products.
She urged all stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry to begin to look inward and embrace innovative ideas like partnership to ensure a better future for the pharmaceutical and health sector.
In his goodwill message at the occasion, Mr Femi Soremekun, managing director/CEO, Biofem Group, and chairman of Nigerian Representative of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM), congratulated Sanofi and May & Baker for working together to boost local drug manufacturing, noting that the partnership was good for the nation’s pharmaceutical sector.