NIPRD advocates increased research, local production of drugs

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National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has stressed the need for increased research and local production of pharmaceutical products to diversify the Nigerian economy and improve job creation.

The Director-General of the institute, Dr Obi Adigwe, made the call on Monday in Abuja where he said that the products of NIPRD research would go a long way to improve revenue generation and create job, apart from being valuable to
improving healthcare.

He added that “pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is associated with one of the longest value chains. Each job you create in that sector, there is the possibility that you create 10 other complementary jobs simultaneously in other sectors,’’ he said.

The director general said NIPRD had started making efforts to manufacture some pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.

He noted that “we have started discussions with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. We are also engaging other stakeholders on how we can make pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria the hub within the African continent.”

Adigwe commended government for the effort to encourage local production of the certain categories of medicines through policy.

He explained that “in 2016, government evolved a fiscal policy where certain categories of medicines were reserved for local manufacturing. Based on that policy, there was close to double-digit growth in pharmaceutical manufacturing, and about 50 million dollars came into the industry within one year. New factories were built and hundreds of youths got jobs. Government has also enacted a number of executive orders, and to demonstrate the importance of the pharmaceutical sector, Executive Order (3) that stipulates procurement of locally manufactured products, pharmaceutical product is specifically mentioned. There is also the `Patient Bill of Right’’ which is aimed at improving access to healthcare.”

He said that products from NIPRD were no longer restricted to healthcare, but now had a multiplier effect on socio-economic conditions of Nigerians.

He expressed the institute’s determination to partner with as many state governments as possible to tap into their medicinal and pharmaceutical raw materials for improved healthcare, economic growth and prosperity.

Bilkisu Pai