Mr Santosh Kumar, managing director of World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL) has bemoaned the arbitrary registration of same pharma brands from different countries, saying that the practice is worrisome.
Speaking during a media tour of the company’s facility by a Pharmanews delegation led by Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of the media outift, which took place on 16 March, 2018, Kumar said the trend is one of the major challenges facing pharmaceutical marketing and distribution.
“I believe when a particular pharmaceutical product is registered, no company should be allowed again to bring in same drug. But things are a bit different here.
“For instance, if Brand ‘X’ (UK) is brought to the market, you will subsequently see Brand ‘X’ (India), Brand ‘X’ (Indonesia) and others. Sometimes this deprives investors and even our partners of business opportunities,” he lamented.
The WWCVL boss recalled that at the time he came into Nigeria about 10 years ago, there was chaos in the drug distribution system with so many counterfeit and substandard products in the market.
“Today, it has reduced drastically. New pharmaceutical companies have sprung up, leading to competition among brands. Also, I think the regulatory body (NAFDAC), has done well in sanitising the system,” he remarked.
WWCVL boss lists challenges of pharma distribution companies
When asked to mention another challenge facing the logistics and distribution company, Kumar explained that the unavailability of a unified pharmaceutical register is another worrying issue.
He disclosed that no individual or organisation seems to have an up-to-date statistics on the number of pharma outlets, vendors selling on the road and those in the open market.
On whether there are special criteria considered before signing up local pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria under the WWCVL umbrella, Kumar explained that only two factors – products quality and companies’ business policy – play a key role in such consideration
Gaps in the Nigerian Pharma market
On his part, Sherring Thekekkara, chief executive officer, Worldwide Healthcare, disclosed that there is no much difference between the Nigerian pharma market and its counterparts in South Africa and Ghana.
According to him, the major difference is that South Africa has more registered pharmacists and lots of insurance coverage.
“The risk of doing business in South Africa is therefore minimal. Unlike Nigeria, Ghana market has no price control. The only challenge I have with the Nigerian market is that there is no enforcement of laws and regulations.
“You go to the market and see counterfeits of your products boldly on display. I don’t think it is right to pay tax, pay for power, operating license, security and other charges to do business and still encounter such a challenge,” he lamented.
While taking the Pharmanews delegation through WWCVL warehouse, storage centres and controlled drugs section, Pharm. Lucky Ubokor, superintendent pharmacist of the company, disclosed that the facilities have biometric control and built according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standard.
While applauding the host for setting a good standard in the logistics and distribution sub-sector of the pharmaceutical industry, Atueyi reiterated that the courtesy visit was in fulfilment of his earlier pledge to visit the company.