NAFDAC Commits to Local Drug Production to Combat High Costs

NAFDAC DG, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye

In a decisive move to tackle the soaring costs of medicines in Nigeria, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has announced the agency’s dedication to bolstering local drug production. This strategic shift is aimed at making medications more affordable and accessible across the nation.

The announcement came during a webinar lecture organized by The Cable Newspaper, which marked its 10th anniversary. The event, themed ‘Addressing Costs of Medicines,’ served as a platform for Prof. Adeyeye to outline NAFDAC’s vision for the pharmaceutical sector.

Prof. Adeyeye emphasized the alignment of NAFDAC’s goals with the Tinubu administration’s focus on local content, which is expected to contribute to an increase in Nigeria’s GDP and a reduction in unemployment rates. She highlighted that locally manufactured drugs would be more affordable and accessible compared to imported ones, which could serve as a remedy for the high cost of medicines plaguing the country.

The NAFDAC chief pointed to the devaluation of the naira as a significant challenge for local production, noting that the high exchange rate has escalated the costs of raw materials and equipment imports necessary for drug manufacturing. The departure of two multinational companies from Nigeria has further exacerbated the situation, leading to an increase in the prices of their drugs.

To encourage growth in the local pharmaceutical industry, Prof. Adeyeye reiterated NAFDAC’s implementation of the ‘5 plus 5’ regulatory scheme. Under this initiative, companies importing drugs that can be produced locally will receive a final five-year renewal. During this period, the importers are expected to transition to local manufacturing or establish partnerships with local producers.

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This policy has already yielded positive results, with over 30% of new companies in Nigeria emerging due to the ‘5 plus 5’ scheme. Many importers have begun building their facilities or engaging in contract manufacturing with local partners, enhancing drug accessibility.

Prof. Adeyeye also addressed the need for local production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and excipients, which are currently imported. She commended EMZOR for nearing the completion of their facilities in Shagamu, which marks a significant step towards local API production.

NAFDAC’s proactive approach under Prof. Adeyeye’s leadership reflects a commitment to ensuring that essential medicines are within reach for all Nigerians, ultimately improving the nation’s health outcomes.

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