Drugs Scarcity Looms In Nigeria, As India Suspends Production

Scarcity of medical drugs is looming in Nigeria, as India halts production of raw pharmaceutical materials. India is the largest producer of the commodity. 

Already, the price of drugs has been on the rise in Nigeria, no thanks to the non-production of pharmaceutical raw materials in drug-producing countries -China and India. 

It was gathered that about 60 per cent of imported drug products being circulated in Nigeria are from India.

But with over 27 million COVID-19 cases and 310,000 deaths in India as at May 25, 2021, the companies producing pharmaceutical raw materials have been temporarily shut.

Research shows that Nigeria, an import-dependent country, does not manufacture pharmaceutical raw materials locally, rather, the country imports raw materials and produce for its citizenry.

The Chairman, Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN), Ernest Okafor, urged the federal government to invest in the petrochemical industry and the energy sector to encourage local production of pharmaceutical raw materials.

“Now that COVID-19 is seriously ravaging the country, we cannot even call our Indian partners for products. They won’t answer you because they are not operating right now. That is why I said whatever affects that region will definitely affect Nigeria, not to talk of the scarcity of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

“Instead of giving incentives to manufacturers, what the government should do is put resources together to build a petrochemical industry as well as electricity,” he said.

Okafor said Nigeria needs to locally manufacture starch and binding agents, adding that finance, insecurity, government policies, access to market are the challenges pharmaceutical distributors and importers are experiencing in Nigeria.

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