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NHIA, Pharmaceutical Companies Sign MoU to Guarantee Drug Security

National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with pharmaceutical companies and Drugs Management Organisations (DMOs) for production of 33 different drugs within the next one month to address the perennial problem of out-of-stock syndrome in the nation’s health facilities.

Under the initiative, 12 pharmaceutical companies will be branding 33 products for the health insurance ecosystem in the first phase. Already, NHIA has chosen seven states (Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Niger, Osun and Sokoto states) and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the pilot phase of this initiative.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, yesterday, in Abuja, Director General of NHIA, Prof. Mohammed Sambo, said that the initiative of branding NHIA medicines and other health products is to facilitate supply of affordable, acceptable, accessible, available and quality medicines and other health products.

He explained that the initiative is to enhance the production of high-quality medicines that will inspire the confidence of users, while changing the wrong perception of enrollees that drugs being dispensed to them are of inferior quality.

Read Also: NAPHARM: Pharmacists Should Go Beyond Local Production, Provide Drug Security

Sambo noted that the initiative is geared towards strengthening local pharmaceutical manufacturers, which will ultimately guarantee medicine security. He added that it will help to reduce the cost of medicines, especially that of intravenous fluids.

He stated that the categories of drugs involved will start from simple to complex, adding that the drugs for the first phase are simple, which will be used to address prevailing health conditions in Nigeria, such as malaria, upper respiratory tract infection, childhood illnesses and drugs being used by pregnant women.

The NHIA boss observed that the organisation will go into another conversation for the next level, and will put in place measures to ensure quality assurance with the drugs.

According to him, every drug that is going to be manufactured will be certified and approved by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He said: “We adopted branding of NHIA medicines and other health products as a way to eradicate out-of-stock syndrome, as well as ensure quality of its medicines. The 33 drugs would be branded with NHIA inscription under the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).’’