India, China export N108bn drugs to Nigeria in one year

Pharmaceutical products import to Nigeria has increased from $358.04million to $513.89million (N185billion) or 30.3 per cent within the last one year, New Telegraph has learnt.

Its major suppliers of drugs, India and China exported drugs valued at N108 billion ($300million) or 58.38 per cent of the drugs to the country.

According to a new data by the international Trade Statistics (ITS) on Nigerian pharmaceutical products imports, India exported some drugs valued at      $205.36million, while China supplied $94.63million drugs to the country.

It also noted that imports from Netherlands were up by 77.1 per cent, as drugs from Netherlands to the country increased from $7.39million to $32.29million within the last one year.

Also, the ITS statistics noted that the United Kingdom, which is the fourth supplier exported some pharmaceutical products valued at $25.44 million to the country.

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Some of the drugs coming from India, according the the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), were banned or fake pharmaceutical products.

Last July, the service handed over 58 containers of tramadol and other illicit drugs valued at N14.7 billion to National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC for destruction.

This month, the service’s Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A has seized some 1,239 cartons of fake viagra, sexual enhancements drugs with N409million mostly imported from India to the country.

It also confiscated N5billion worth of tramadol and codeine at a warehouse in Lagos respectively.

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Worried by the influx of  drugs into the country, the Executive Secretary, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) had said in Lagos that Nigerian drug manufacturers were making strategic collaborations with local and international partners, to  reverse the trend of 70 per cent drugs importation to the country instead of 30 per cent local production.

He explained that Nigerian manufacturers had invested over N400 billion in the last 20 years in upgrading facilities to acquire the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s prequalification needed for international competition.

The Chairman of PMG-MAN,  Fidelis Akhagboso Ayebae, also noted that Fidson Healthcare had pumped between N20billion and N25 billion into its facilities in Lagos and Ogun states.

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The chairman said that the Nigerian manufacturing sector was the most challenged due to man-made and not-too-good conducive environment in which firms operate.

He complained that the 30 per cent of the total quantity of drugs manufactured locally in the country were not enough.

To reverse the situation, industrial pharmacists under the umbrella of Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (AIPN) recently stressed the need by the pharmaceutical industry in the country to begin to innovate towards the transformation of the industry.

The association advocated for strategic innovations and a brand new approach to transform the nation’s pharmaceutical industry for maximum growth.

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