NIGERIA—The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), a professional body representing Nigerian doctors and dentists, has voiced grave concerns over the departure of pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, which has led to critical drug shortages across the country.

This concern was voiced by NMA Chairman, Professor Bala Audu, during a media conference marking the conclusion of the 64th Annual General Conference/Delegates Meeting recently held in Cross River.

He noted that the exit of major pharmaceutical companies has resulted in a geometric increase in drug prices and widespread job losses, raising serious concerns about the future availability of essential medicines for Nigerians.

The situation escalated following the August 2023 exit of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Nigeria Plc, the second-largest drug producer in Nigeria.

According to the local daily Premium Times, GSK ceased operations in the country by terminating its marketing and distribution agreements, opting instead to appoint third-party distributors for their medications and vaccines.

This move has had a ripple effect on the healthcare sector, exacerbating the already dire situation.

In addition to GSK, other foreign pharmaceutical companies, such as Sanofi, have also announced their departure from Nigeria.

This trend has been attributed to several challenges, including foreign exchange difficulties, cumbersome business operations, importation bureaucracy, multiple taxation, and industry malpractice.

Clare Omatseye, Vice President of the African Healthcare Federation, emphasized that these issues have created an untenable business environment for pharmaceutical companies.

In light of these developments, the NMA, through a statement issued by Professor Audu, has urged the government to take immediate and decisive action to address the fallout from these exits.

 Professor Audu called for the creation of a more business-friendly environment and significant investment in the domestic pharmaceutical industry.

Such measures, he argued, are essential to mitigate the impact of these departures and ensure continuous access to essential medicines for the Nigerian population.

The NMA’s concerns underscore the broader implications of pharmaceutical company exits, affecting not only drug availability and affordability but also the overall health outcomes for Nigerians.

The association’s call to action aims to ensure that the country can maintain a stable supply of essential medications despite the ongoing challenges in the industry.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook