-As NAIP holds first bi-monthly meeting
Despite the myriads of challenges facing it, the pharmaceutical sub-sector of the Nigerian economy should experience moderate improvements in 2018, compared to 2017, experts have said.
Speaking at the first bi-monthly meeting of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) for 2018, held recently in Lagos, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, PSN; Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, national chairman, NAIP and Mr Opeyemi Agbaje, CEO, RTC Advisory Services Limited, all opined that they expected the pharmaceutical business sector to make some progress in the year 2018.
Speaking at the event, themed, “Nigerian Economy and Policy in 2018: Implications on Pharma Business”, Pharm. Yakasai who chaired the occasion, noted that the pharma industry’s contribution to the GDP of the nation was quite low, adding that Nigerian government must formulate and implement policies that will help boost local drug production as this will contribute much more to the GDP of the nation.
Yakasai who bemoaned importation of some substandard drugs to the country stressed that a major way of ensuring drugs used in Nigeria are of top quality is to support local drug manufacturing so that the source of the drugs used by Nigerians can be easily traced and verified, adding that when the Dangote petrochemical industry becomes fully operational, the pharma industry would derive great benefits from the initiative.
The PSN helmsman also commended NAIP for its commitment to helping to address issues facing pharmacy practice, noting that he was glad to be part of the bi-monthly meeting of the Association.
The NAIP boss, Pharm. Anukwu, in his welcome remarks affirmed that NAIP was committed to the growth of the pharmaceutical sub-sector of the Nigerian economy, adding that that was what informed the decision of the group to once again bring the financial expert, Mr Agbaje, to speak to members on how economic policies of 2018 will affect pharmacy business.
He observed that while the pharmaceutical sector is still beset by many challenges, a lot can be done by stakeholders to transform the sector and ensure Nigerians have access to quality affordable medicines.
Mr Agbaje who was the keynote speaker at the event explained that while the pharmaceutical business sector may be expected to benefit from the macroeconomic stabilisation effects of higher oil prices through forex availability, as well as stability in exchange rates and diffusion effects of oil sector growth, the sector may still be negatively affected by increases in input prices tied to oil and commodity prices, alongside disruptive impact of petrol shortages.
He noted that the GDP range of 2.0 per cent to 3.5 per cent expected in 2018 is positive, even though largely oil-sector driven, and may lead to gradual broad-based economic improvements.
Agbaje stated that the business sector, which includes pharmacy business, should enjoy relative forex stability and improved GDP growth in 2018, but added that cost pressures may still persist in the sector.
According to Agbaje, the panaceas for sustained and long term growth for the pharma sector remains long-term strategic planning, domestic research and development, and innovations around products and business processes.