Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t mean to interrupt this sorry party, but we’re running out of drugs.
Nigeria is on the verge of the biggest scarcity of drugs and pharmaceutical raw materials since the 1980s.
An entire nation of over 100 million people running out of Over The Counter medication. The situation is acute.
Since the dedicated hard work of late Prof. Mrs Akunyili in NAFDAC, and through concerted efforts of stakeholders, the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry had enjoyed a steady incline and glowing recommendations internationally.
The influx of multinational companies manufacturing locally, and standardisation of our generic products propelled the pharmaceutical industry to enviable heights in the Nigerian healthcare delivery system. The Nigerian drug market became a very lucrative aspect of Nigerian health economics, as witnessed by the migration of other health care practitioners into pharmaceutical retail, the revenues remitted from drug revolving funds, and the persistent increase in number of new pharmaceutical colleges across the country.
Nigerian drug companies like Emzor, Swipha, Juhel, May and Baker, Fidson etc produce standard pharmaceutical products in Nigeria, reducing the burden on multinational brands and ensuring availability of OTC and ethical products on hospital and retail shelves for those unable to pay for the more expensive brands.
Now, unfortunately the industry is facing a huge test of its core friability and integrity.
An acute lack of pharmaceutical grade raw materials brought about by a crippling economy, and unfortunate FOREX policies threatens to drag all the previous growth in this sector to the mud. Here’s an awful prognosis. Indigenous companies still source 70% of their raw materials abroad, because sourcing from Nigeria is actually more expensive and supply is often infrequent. Companies soon increase prices of their products as stock level drops, to be able to afford more raw materials. Companies also begin to lay off staff to cut costs and remain in business. Generic companies make huge supplies to Teaching Hospitals that mismanage the revenue and are unable to pay for the drugs supplied. A lot of companies begin to cut costs and corners by all means to remain in business. Drugs dry up from hospital shelves as demand steadily surpasses product supply. Drugs dry up from community retail outlets as companies refuse to supply to them on credit. Proliferation of fake and substandard OTC medication and open drug markets to meet this urgent drug demand.
And in a short while we’re back to where we started with the horrible fake drug menace of the 80s and 90s that led to millions of lives being lost; and a magnitude of disabilities.
This process has begun already. Notable manufacturing and importing pharmacists are already crying out under the strain of the dead weight economy. President Ahmed Yakassi of PSN, Mr Okey Akpa of PMGMAN and SKG, and Dr Albert Kelong of ACPN amongst others have sounded dire warnings of the state of our national drug cabinet, to no avail.

As you were.

Written by Rxmakuo. Click below to tweet at him and continue the conversation