Nigerian pharmacists yesterday urged the Federal Government to follow their four steps to transform the drug manufacturing industry and boost the economy.
They called for a special foreign exchange rate to drug manufacturing companies to enable them import raw materials.
The pharmacists urged the government to stop foreign donors from importing drugs, create drug manufacturing industrial estates, patronise local drug manufacturers, instead of issuing local purchase orders (LPOs) to politicians for the supply of foreign drugs.
They said these are among steps the government could take to make drug manufacturing boost the economy.
Chairman of the state Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mr Abiodun Ajibade, and other members addressed reporters in Ibadan, the state capital, at the society’s Pharmacy Week.
The PSN state chairman noted that the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector is a multi-billion dollar business with the capacity to boost job and wealth creation.
He said reducing the exchange rate for drug raw materials is among key steps the government could take to leverage on potential of the sector.
According to him, foreign donors, who already have five centres in Nigeria for drug support, should be stopped from importing more drugs that can be made in Nigeria.
Ajibade said: “The pharmaceutical industry has been the major economic frontiers of some nations. If in Nigeria we take steps to empower the pharmaceutical sector, our story will change. The current exchange rate of over N370 to a dollar is not going to help our economy. We cannot continue to export our fund all in the name of procuring medicines from abroad and expect same money to cause local industrial revolution.
“The various tiers of government spend heavily on drug provisions and out-of-pocket spending on drugs by average Nigerians is not a small amount. If our drugs are sourced locally, we can imagine great fortune awaits us…”
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