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70% of Nigerians in rural areas lack access to quality medicines – Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturers say 70 per cent of Nigerians living in the hinterlands have no access to quality medicines, blaming the development on the limited number of  manufacturers and other stakeholders in the rural areas.

To this end, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, PMG-MAN is convening a forum that would focus on ways to expand  frontiers of availability of drugs beyond the cities to all parts of the country.

Chairman of the Forum, Mr. Biola Adebayo, said statistics released by international organisations including the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, had shown that 60 percent of medicines circulating in the hinterlands are either substandard or outright fake.

Adebayo, while speaking on the forthcoming Forum billed to hold in Abuja with the theme: “Improving access to medicines: the Imperatives of Local Manufacturing and Effective Supply Chain Management”, also blamed manufacturers and regulatory bodies for not taking up the potential of the areas for proper regulation.

“As an organisation in collaboration with Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, we are taking drug availability a step further because most of the companies manufacturing medicines are concentrated in the urban centres and big towns leaving the 60- 70 per cent of Nigerians living in hinterlands to buy whatever that is available. “We are taking the frontier of availability  beyond city centres, beyond state capitals but to rural areas where 70 per cent of our people are actually staying.”

He maintained that local manufacturing was the only way to guarantee medicine sufficiency and security as well as availability.

The Chief Executive Officer, of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, PHN, Mr. Muntaga Umar – Sadiq said the organisation is partnering PMG-MAN to unlock market potential  in the pharmaceutical industry through the supply chains.   According to him, Nigeria has a dysfunctional and complex health system which has contributed to the needless deaths of women and children, adding that one of the major drivers to prevent these deaths is access to life-saving commodities and medicines.  He said all efforts to reposition the industry will make no sense if those that would use the drugs don’t have access to them.

On his part, Executive Secretary, PMG-MAN, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe said the forum billed to hold 25th May, 2017 in Abuja would provide engagement platform for all relevant stakeholders in the manufacturing space to enable the development of an innovative approach to rigorously and comprehensively engage with challenges in the pharmaceutical sector as well as industrial policy space.

He said PHN, which represents the country’s foremost private sector platform  is supporting the Forum  towards its aim of saving a million lives every year through various innovations including setting up Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain in Nigeria.

Target is to get 70 percent of local and less than 30 percent of imports.

Source: Vanguard News

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