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NAIP: Essential Drugs Scarcity Worsens Health Indices

Industrial pharmacists under the helm of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) are warning Nigerians of a potential scarcity of essential drugs across the country due to the high cost of diesel and forex.

This has caused them to appeal to the government to take proactive measures to tackle the exorbitant cost of diesel and the shortage of foreign exchange.

The chairman of NAIP, Kenneth Onuegbu, at the 5th annual international conference of the Nigerian Association of Foreign Trained Pharmacists, in Lagos, expressed concern over the adverse effects of the current economic situation on medication production and importation in the nation.

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Onuegbu said Nigerian pharmaceutical companies might find it increasingly challenging to provide vital medications unless the government takes proactive measures to tackle two critical issues: the exorbitant cost of diesel and the shortage of foreign exchange.

Outlining the key challenges faced by the pharmaceutical sector, Onuegbu said, “We have insecurity issues, and how to get the medication from the point of production to the final consumer is another challenge that we have not been able to solve. Accessing forex is a big challenge. The process can take a year to get the CBN subsidised rate, hence, we resort to the black market. We buy dollars at the rate of N1,100, which automatically affects production.

“If we don’t do something about it, there is going to be a scarcity of essential medicines. We must call for the domestication of medications to reduce the production cost.”