The federal government has told pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Nigeria that it is ready to support them in ensuring that 70 per cent of the drugs Nigerians need are produced in the country, in line with the National Drug Policy.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, disclosed this at a meeting with members of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), in Abuja, according to a statement by his office.
The Association is the umbrella organisation for manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and allied products in Nigeria
Mr. Adewole said the support is also to ensure access to quality medicines by Nigerians at affordable cost.
The National Drug Policy stipulates that Nigeria should aim at producing 70 per cent of its medicines needs.
Mr. Adewole said the Health Ministry was ready to support willing and capable groups to expedite action towards the achievement of that goal.
The minister also inaugurated a committee of experts, headed by the Director, Food and Drugs Services, Modupe Chukuma, to develop a list of drugs that Nigeria does not yet have the capacity to produce so that the ministry can seek waiver on tariffs on their importation from the Finance Ministry.
He urged manufacturers to strive to reduce the cost of locally manufactured drugs by as much as 30 per cent and create efficient systems to ensure that drugs get to the last person in need of them.
In another development, the minister said the ministry’s proposed 2017 Budget has projects and programmes for Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to a press statement from the ministry, Mr. Adewole disclosed this at a budget defence session held at the instance of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora in Abuja.
The exercise was to ascertain the commitment of the health sector to the welfare and protection of Nigerians abroad.
In a chat with journalists afterwards, Mr. Adewole said the budget defence would enable the ministry re-prioritise its needs and focus for the benefit of Nigerians in the diaspora.
In her remarks, the Chairperson of the Committee, Rita Oji, urged the health ministry to make maximum use of the instrumentality of the National Assembly which is invested with the power of appropriation during budget planning for the benefit of Nigerians.
Proposed budgetary allocation to health for 2017 is 4.15 per cent of the national budget, a marginal improvement on the 3.73 per cent figure of 2016.