A pharmaceutical expert, on Monday, expressed displeasure over the inability of the academia to translate most of their researches to innovations.
The Director-General, Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Obi Adigwe, at an event organised by the agency in Abuja on Monday said a common criticism of the academia in Nigeria is that they engage in endless publications “which lead to little or no impact on the community”.
Mr Adigwe also said the lack of collaboration between the academia and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Nigeria is hurting the development of the sector.
Mr Adigwe, who spoke at the NIPRD Health Engagement, Education, Access Discourse (NIPRD-HEEAD) said the event was organised by the agency as part of its mandate to tackle the lack of adequate knowledge in the health sector.
He said the discourse brings together researchers, stakeholders, policymakers, implementors, executives and the legislature.
The DG said one of the reasons why there are no innovations in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector is because parties do not have a meeting point “where ideas are shared”.
“There is a need for the pharmaceutical industry to collaborate with research institutes to enhance their productivity,” he said.
He said the government needs to channel more investments to the sector.
“Nigeria has lots of local agricultural products and academic resources which are yet to be tapped into. The health sector needs to be developed. The development of the sector can generate at least 30 per cent of turnover labour in the country, starting from the farmers in the farm to the manufacturers at the industries,” he said.
An official from US Pharmacopeial, Esuga Mopa, said Nigeria could generate a lot of wealth through the development of the pharmaceutical sector. “Unfortunately, the country is not tapping into it”, he added.
Mr Mopa lamented that Nigerian depended on foreign drugs to support its health system.
He said Nigeria with a population of over 200 million is already a business hub for the sector to thrive.
Mr Mopa said Nigeria has a lot of agricultural plants “which are of medicinal values that can be developed for export”. This, he said, will not only propel the country forward in term of pharmaceutical development but also serve as a form of wealth creation for the country.
Although he noted there are some pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Nigeria, Mr Mora said they are currently “under threats from Asian countries”.
He also said that most of them could not compete with foreign companies “because the manufacturers are on limited portfolio (meaning most companies produce the same products under different names) and some of the products are substandard”.
“Global Fund is a big buyer of antimalaria, but they are not buying any from the country because we are not meeting standards. Nigeria has a reputation for substandard products and a limited portfolio of drugs are produced in the country.”
Mr Mopa advocated for the government to refocus attention towards developing the pharmaceutical sector “as it will go a long way in ensuring medicine security for the country”.
“We need to strengthen our pharmaceutical sector as medicine security is the security of a nation.
“A state of emergency should be declared in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector so that they can compete with other countries. Resources capability is barely 30 per cent in Nigeria; manufacturers are also not producing to full capacity. All these need to change.
“This limits the market spectrum for Nigeria’s pharmaceutical products. This has to change. The government policies have to work in such a way that we have good manufacturing standards,” he said.