The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, at the contract manufacturing announcement held recently in Lagos said the partnership would give Nigerians access to quality medicines.
She said, “The partnership will ensure that multinationals, local manufacturers come together, make quality medicines for our people. This will also help our economy in the sense that more employees will be added in the course of this partnership.
“And the most important thing is our drug security; we don’t have to go outside to get some medicines. This is going to help local manufacturers and will encourage other companies to partner with multinationals.
“This is also because of what NAFDAC has been working day and night for, which is to ensure that quality medicines are made, either by manufacturers alone or through partnerships.”
She commended the two firms for their sustainable investment in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry even as the agency intensifies its oversight function to drive excellence in the industry.
“Part of our regulatory system is focused on local manufacturing because if you want to avoid substandard, falsified medicine or reduce it, then we have to emphasise local manufacturing. It is good for our country and the economy. It will reduce unemployment, increase our GDP and return us to where we used to be; which was exporting health care products,” she said.
Drug Manufacturing Gets Boost In Nigeria With GSK, Fidson Partnership
Recall that in 2019, Fidson signed a contract manufacturing agreement to manufacture five products for GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc.
The production from this partnership which officially commenced on December 16, 2021 aims at enabling the continuous improvement of local manufacturing capability in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry through technology transfer.
The Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria, Kunle Oyelana, at the production commencement ceremony in Lagos, explained the rationale behind the partnership.
He said, “When we decided at GSK to evolve our operating model to a point where we go into partnership with local manufacturers to produce some of our products, it was a significant endeavour. We took that decision in the interest of the country, particularly the economy and the patients in Nigeria.”
“It took time, it was not an overnight journey because a lot of changes had to be made and that is why we are very glad that our regulator, NAFDAC has been with us every step of the way on this journey.”
The model, according to GSK MD is an in-country manufacturing partnership between a global player and a local player.
“It is a model which has worked in several climes and is supposed to support the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector towards competing globally within a very short time,” Oyelana said.
Also, the Managing Director, Fidson Healthcare Plc, Dr Fidelis Ayebae, at the event said the partnership would generate more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
“This is a transfer of manufacturing capabilities and assets from GSK to an indigenous firm. It is, however, not a merger or acquisition but an outsourcing arrangement. This is a big deal for Fidson and Nigeria. This agreement will benefit Nigerians such that they will continue to have access to the quality products of GSK for a long time through an indigenous company, who employs Nigerians to run its operations,” Ayebae said.
The companies maintained that the agreement also seeks to increase employment opportunities in form of capacity and technology transfer for more Nigerian pharmacists, chemists, and microbiologists; improving local distribution, as well as initiating more sustainable projects in host communities.
According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the key challenges confronting Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market include counterfeit medicines, poor health care infrastructure and the limited spending power of citizens.
UNIDO, in a report, titled, ‘Pharmaceutical Sector Profile: Nigeria,’ said, “Despite government efforts to promote domestic manufacturing, Nigeria remains heavily reliant on imported pharmaceuticals.
“The revised National Drug Policy (NDP) (2004) set a target for 70 per cent (in volume) of the country’s demand for medicines to be met by local drug manufacturers by 2008. Consequently, government policies support local production of essential medicines in accordance with the NDP.
“The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector has experienced a steady annual growth of 10 per cent to 15 per cent since 2001. Furthermore, some local drug manufacturers are currently upgrading their facilities to comply with WHO pre-qualification and WHO cGMP requirements.
“If successful, this will enable them to promote the export of medicines manufactured locally in Nigeria to ECOWAS countries and beyond. In addition, once prequalified, local manufacturers will be able to participate in international procurement tenders called by international development partners.”