Professor Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, expressed concern over Nigeria’s heavy reliance on imported drugs, emphasizing the readiness of the State government to support local pharmaceutical industries in drug production.

Professor Akin Abayomi
Professor Akin Abayomi

Addressing attendees at the Pharma West Africa Drug Exhibition in Victoria Island, Lagos, themed “The global pharmaceutical industry is coming to Nigeria,” he highlighted the alarming fact that out of the total drugs consumed in Nigeria, 80 to 90 percent are imported, leaving only five percent manufactured domestically.

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Professor Abayomi stressed that Nigeria possesses the capability to produce quality drugs and urged local pharmacists to ensure that their products meet high-quality standards.

He underscored the importance of investing in drug manufacturing in Lagos and creating an enabling environment to attract major pharmaceutical manufacturers to the region.

In her remarks at the event, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), recalled a time in the 1980s when drugs made in Nigeria were of such high quality that even missionaries purchased them before returning to their countries.

However, she lamented the decline in regulatory oversight, noting that regulatory agencies like NAFDAC were not functioning effectively. She highlighted the removal of NAFDAC and other agencies from seaports between 2011 and 2018, which facilitated the importation of substandard drugs into the country.

Professor Adeyeye emphasized the need for a collective effort to restore dignity to the pharmaceutical industry and produce high-quality products locally. She urged drug manufacturers to prioritize customer satisfaction and regulatory compliance.

Professor Cyril O. Usifo, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), emphasized the importance of collaboration between pharmacists and non-pharmacists to drive innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.

Other speakers at the event, including Dr. Ngono Mballa Rose, Director-General of Lanacome, Cameroon; James Kommeh, Head of Pharmacy Board in Sierra Leone; and Dr. Pamella Ajayi, President of the Health Care Federation of Nigeria, called for a commitment to advancing the pharmaceutical industry and enhancing healthcare services in West Africa.

According to Jamie Hill of B and B Event, the organizers of the event, the workshop aimed to create opportunities for manufacturers and encourage them to establish businesses in Nigeria. Pharmaceutical companies participating in the exhibition expressed interest in setting up manufacturing plants in Nigeria due to the country’s promising market potential.