NIGERIA – Nigeria, the country which hosts 60 percent of the pharmaceutical production capacity in Africa, is reported to experience a recess in growth, with the market currently estimated at US$1.5 billion to US$2.5 billion.
The African pharmaceutical market is projected to grow between US$60 billion to US$70 billion after COVID-19, this is according to researchers under the Pharmaceutical Subsector Thematic Group of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Research and Development Standing Committee, RDSC.
Lead Presenter of the group and Director General of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, Dr Obi Adigwe, noted that out of about 6 or 7 companies which have WHO certification in Africa, four are in Nigeria, punching holes in the stagnated growth of the industry.
According to him, pharmaceuticals are also issues of national security, adding that unless the country is able to determine how its medicines are produced and distributed, its population would not be able to guarantee sustained supply of high quality and affordable medicines that will enable it have access to good quality healthcare.
“Pharma sector is probably the highest value chain related sector in any part of the world. For every job you create in the pharma sector you create close to ten jobs on ancillary,” he said, adding that the sector has a high potential to stimulate growth across the entire socio-economic space.
The NIPRD boss therefore recommended among other things, the provision of infrastructure and equipment, as well as funding and prioritization of local companies in the production of pharmaceutical products.
This comes a few months after leading pharmaceutical, manufacturer in the West African country, Emzor pharmaceuticals, clenched a deal to manufacture Active Pharmaceutical ingredients in their facility courtesy of a partnership with India’s Mangalam Drugs and Organics Ltd.
Emzor will manufacture APIs for the treatment and prevention of Malaria, even as the world today celebrates the first ever Malaria vaccine by GSK, following approval by the WHO.
Last month, stake holders in the Nigerian healthcare industry convened to plot on Nigeria’s quest to attain success and self-sufficiency in local vaccine production.
The players agreed on a policy which will see Nigeria peruse a generic, inclusive and nationalistic in outlook on vaccines and drugs manufacture, mainly focused on Nigeria’s Biovaccines Ltd.
Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd, which is 49% owned by the Nigerian government with the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc, plans to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year, said Oyewale Tomori, chairman of Biovaccines.
The company is in talks with companies in India and Indonesia to transfer technology on vaccines against common diseases including yellow fever and measles.
While calling for improvement in ICT facilities, and power supply to compete with external institutions, Adigwe said if the country can focus on phytomedicine alone, it is enough to drive about five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product, GDP, stressing that it is time to use science and technology to diversify the economy of the country.
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