FG Takes Steps To Crash Cost Of Drugs


Coordinating minister of health and social welfare, Prof. Muhammed Ali Pate, has disclosed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will soon sign an Executive Order to significantly reduce the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products in the country.

The minister stated this yesterday at the ministerial press briefing series which he addressed alongside the minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Mohammed Idris, in Abuja.

While highlighting the significant progress achieved in the health sector under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s administration since May 2023, Pate said that despite the departure of multinational companies from the country, the government is committed to reducing the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products.

He said an Executive Order by President Tinubu was forthcoming to significantly reduce the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products in the country.”

“The rising cost of pharmaceuticals is a pressing concern, and we are taking decisive action to address this issue. An Executive Order will soon be issued to curb escalating drug prices in the short term, while our mid to long-term goal involves the domestication of imported drugs within the next three years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade.

“In a strategic move to fortify the pharmaceutical infrastructure across the nation, the federal government initiated the construction of pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states in collaboration with Drug Management Agencies,” said Pate.

The minister also revealed that the federal government was securing a $1 billion facility from Afreximbank along with commitments from foreign partners, to boost the nation’s medical industrialisation efforts.

‘750,000 More Nigerians Enrolled Into Health Insurance Scheme’

Pate further disclosed that about 750,000 more Nigerians have been enrolled into the country’s health insurance scheme since the beginning of Tinubu’s administration.

The minister, who made the disclosure at the ministerial press briefing in Abuja, said the present administration has extended coverage to millions of Nigerians, safeguarding them against the financial hardships associated with healthcare expenses.

Pate expressed the federal government’s commitment to providing access to quality health for all Nigerians through the Vulnerable Group Fund and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).

The minister also revealed that, in the last six months, the federal government had recruited 2,497 doctors, midwives/nurses, and community health extension workers (CHEWs) to bridge the gaps due to attrition.

He said an additional 1,400 health facilities now have Skilled Birth Attendants to assist in deliveries at the health facilities.

“This has increased the number of health facility deliveries to as high as 230,000 deliveries per month,” Pate added.

On primary healthcare, Pate said the federal government will be releasing N50 billion as the first tranche of the Basic Healthcare Fund, a significant increase from N25 billion allocated in 2022.

“This infusion of funds will breathe new life into our primary healthcare facilities, ensuring that quality care is accessible to all citizens,” said Pate.

On immunisation, the minister noted that since the inception of the diphtheria response, over five million children have been immunised with the Penta vaccine and 10 million children with Td vaccines.

He further asserted that since the launch of the HPV vaccine in October 2023 across 15 states and the FCT, more than 4.95 million eligible girls aged 9-14 years, representing 80 percent of eligible girls, have been successfully vaccinated.

“The Phase 2 introduction is scheduled for May 2024 in Anambra, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Rivers, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Yobe, Plateau and Zamfara.

“Pre-implementation activities have commenced to ensure a successful phase 2 introduction, a crucial milestone in our ongoing efforts to combat cervical cancer,” he said.

The health minister explained that by prioritising preventive measures and expanding access to life-saving vaccines, the government was taking proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of women and girls, ensuring a healthier future for generations to come.

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