Pharmacy Association Laments Unfriendly Foreign Exchange PolicyLatest News, News Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
ENUGU, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has urged the Federal Government to review the import duties on raw materials for drug production in Nigeria, saying the lingering Currency Fluctuations and unfriendly Foreign Exchange policy had become a serious problem to drug manufacturers in the country.
The body however, blamed the high cost of drugs in Nigeria, as a result of the currency fluctuation issue.
It stated that if nothing is done urgently to check the development, it would continue to unleash hardship on the citizens.
Briefing newsmen in Enugu at the ongoing 35th annual National Conference of the Association, holding between 29th May to June 3rd, at the Nike Lake Resort Enugu, its National Chairman, Dr. Albert Alkali hinted that despite efforts by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to rid Nigeria of fake and adulterated drugs, the menace still persisted in the country.
He added that issue had remained a major challenge to health care providers.
Alkali said over 6000 Community Pharmacists from all the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja are in Enugu for the National Conference with the theme “Manpower Development in Community Pharmacy Practice – Adopting Global Best Practices”.
He noted that it had become imperative for government to declare emergency in foreign exchange before the problem spiraled out of hands.
His words “I think government needs to declare an emergency in that area of foreign exchange so that our people will not suffer unnecessarily.
According to him, “government should do something by creating an enabling environment where we can start becoming self-sufficient in drug production.
” The pharmaceutical industry has potentials of developing lots of drugs if we have the enabling environment” he declared.
“If that can be done urgently, then we don’t need Forex but for now something should be done.
“We are specifically asking for waiver on the importation of raw materials for drug production.
“Once the raw materials are not properly priced it equally affects the finished product as prices will be so high. We expe t government to work on that quickly,” Alkali noted.
Commenting on the issue of fake and adulterated drugs, the ACPN leader, said the first step to getting things right is the appointment of a thorough-bred professional for the NAFDAC, noting that the successes recorded under late Prof Dora Akunyili were not sustained culminating in the return of the problem.
“Only a trained pharmacist will know that this drug can lead to kidney failure, brain damage, cardiovascular disease, cancer etc and therefore, will do everything possible to stop fake and adulterated drugs from coming into the market.
“The late Akunyili as a professors of pharmacy executed her job with greater vigor because she understood the system.
“God has indeed been helping us, we hope this government will do the needful by putting the right person there to protect Nigerians against the menace of fake and counterfeit medicines,” the ACPN boss stated.
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