Fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Sir Chris Atuegwu, is the Managing Director of Michelle Laboratories Limited, makers of CIKA range of drugs. In this Interview with LAWRENCE NJOKU, he bares his mind on the challenges of local manufacturing and the drive to promote made in Nigeria products.
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What are the major challenges militating local drug manufacturing?
The major challenges faced by Nigerian drug manufacturers are as a result of government policies. For instance, drug manufacturers are prepared and positioned to provide all the drugs that this country requires if given the chance, but government policies don’t allow that to happen. I give you an example. In 2005, 17 essential drugs, through the instrumentality of the late Dora Akunyili, then DG of NAFDAC, were put under import proscription. Because of that, most of the local drugs manufacturing companies started developing and buying machines to meet up the market demand. Then, from about 80 pharmaceutical industries, the number shut up to about 180, but suddenly last year, some of these drugs were removed under the prohibition list. And this policy somersault was after manufacturers had invested a lot of money procuring the needed machinery to scale up production. So I ask, are we going forward or backward? [ Continue ]