• Life - Health & Wellness
  • Updated: June 06, 2023

Subsidy Removal Will Make Drugs Unaffordable For Nigerians — Pharmacists

Subsidy Removal Will Make Drugs Unaffordable For Nigerians �

Stakeholders in the industrial pharmaceutical manufacturing sector have said the fuel subsidy removal will make both over-the-counter and ethical drugs unaffordable for many Nigerians.

Speaking at an event organised by the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria themed ‘Economic Outlook for 2023: Trends, challenges and opportunities for the pharmaceutical sector’, the industrial pharmacy stakeholders lamented that the pharmaceutical sector was already battling a lack of access to foreign exchange and other stifling operational challenges.

Some of the stakeholders include the National Chairman of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria, Ken Onuegbu; MD/CEO of Fidson Healthcare Plc, Dr Fidelis Ayebae; President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Prof. Cyril Usifoh and Damilare Ojo of the Meristem Group.

According to them, this will further compound the challenges facing industrial pharmacists and can further frustrate efforts to ensure national drug security for the country.

Speaking with Punch, Onuegbu said, "The fuel subsidy removal will definitely affect the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.

"This is because Nigeria as a nation is highly dependent on the importation of our basic drug products.

"About 70 per cent of our basic drug requirements and raw materials are imported.

"So, when the fuel subsidy is removed, it will lead to an appreciable rise in the cost of raw materials and there will also be a rise in the prices of commodities.

"The patients will bear the brunt of this hike in prices. It is bound to happen whether we like it or not. It is something we should expect.

“That is why we are trying to beg the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to recognise the pharmaceutical sector as a special industry and to realise the importance of ensuring that essential medicines are always made available for citizens.

"It is a national security matter and everything must be done to support the pharmaceutical industry to deliver on its mandate of providing medicines to Nigerians when they need them."

Speaking earlier, Damilare Ojo of Meristem Group, who spoke on ‘Economic Outlook of 2023’ as it affects the pharmaceutical sector said the planned subsidy removal would pose further challenges to industrial pharmaceutical business operations.

Also commenting, Dr Ayebae who spoke on ‘Contract Manufacturing in Nigeria: Collaboration for increased capacity utilisation and drug security’ noted that the pharmaceutical sector is currently battling a lot of challenges. He urged players in the pharmaceutical industry to embrace contract manufacturing.

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