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Nigerian drug makers are planning to take 70 percent share of the local medicines market, leaving the remaining 30 percent for importers.
They are upgrading their production facilities and strengthening capacities to reverse the trend where 70 percent of the medicines market is controlled by importers while the remaining 30 percent is left for them.
“With strategic collaborations with local and international partners, we can reverse the trend of 70 percent:30 percent ratio of medicine importation against local manufacturing ,” Frank Muonemeh, executive secretary, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), said at a press briefing in Lagos at the weekend.
Nigerian manufacturers have invested over N400 billion in the last 20 years in upgrading facilities to acquire the World Health Organisation(WHO)’s prequalification needed for international competition. Fidson Healthcare has pumped between N20 and N25 billion into its facilities in Lagos and Ogun states, said Fidelis Akhagboso Ayebae, founder and chief executive officer, who doubles as chairman of PMG-MAN.
Speaking at the press briefing, Ayebae said though the local pharmaceutical industry is challenged, it is doing its best to stay afloat.
“Nobody can make our lives so bad that we would want to sell,” he said.
He explained that the Nigerian manufacturing sector is the most challenged due to man-made, not-too-good conducive environment in which firms operate.
“Those of us that have the courage to set up manufacturing plants, produce and create jobs are the ones being punished by the system,” he said.
He said rent seekers—including foreign exchange dealers and portfolio investors— benefit more from the Nigeria while manufacturers, who invest directly in the economy, bear the brunt of harsh environment.
On the forthcoming 5th expo tagged ‘Strategic Collaboration for Medicine Security, Affordability and National Sufficiency’, which will take place on June 28 and 29 in GRA Ikeja, Lagos, Ayabae said this year’s event promises to be better than those before. He said the focus is to bring new technology from across the world to expose local manufacturers to revolutions happening so that they can continue to produce efficacious and quality drugs.
“Nigerians will have the benefit of buying made-in-Nigeria products at discounted rates,” he said.
He further explained that it will enable local drug makers to have new partnerships with foreign investors.
“Some of us today have foreign investors. Fidson today is owned by foreign investors to the tune of 25 percent,” he disclosed.
He further disclosed that the Bank of Industry (BoI) and NEM Insurance are key sponsors.
Muonemeh, executive secretary, explained that the expo will attract 200 international pharma machineries exhibition firms from six countries and nearly 10,000 pharma and related sectors.
He stated that special buyer-seller sessions will happen and will bring together over 500 pharma and allied products manufacturing companies in close business discussions to generate active business relationship.
Speaking further on the benefits of participation, he said participants will meet West and Central African leading market place for pharma machinery, with an opportunity to access N300 billion intervention fund for upgrade and capacity building meant for local drug makers.
Orimadegun Agboade, chairman and CEO of Orfema Pharmaceutical Industry, said Nigeria can produce all of its malarial drugs, urging government to check donor agencies who sell foreign drugs at lower prices.
Adekunle Abibu, managing director of Pharma Deko, said local drug makers need soft loans.
“You cannot build a factory with loans from commercial banks that charge high interests and expect you return to them as soon as possible,” he said.
“When you patronise us, we increase local vale addition and create jobs,” he added.