The federal government has been urged to create enabling environment for drug manufacturers to produce locally.
Speaking at the 2020 press week programme of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ilorin on Tuesday, the NMA state deputy chairman, Dr. Aderibigbe Ayodele said that pharmaceutical companies would produce drugs at more affordable prices when government created enabling environment for drug manufacturers, added that government must also strengthen regulatory bodies to ensure that drugs manufactured in Nigeria contain advertised ingredients.
He also sought collaboration of all opinion leaders, associations and pressure groups to demand necessary things from government.
“Nigeria cannot make drugs. The vaccine we gave those children in government hospitals is donated to Nigeria for free. That is why they say in hospital they don’t charge you for vaccine but they still charge you for cotton wool and spirit. Can’t Nigeria manufacture these drugs?
“Unless Nigeria government engaged pharmaceutical companies to produce those drugs in Nigeria, the drugs will be expensive because those drugs are imported. It depends on exchange rate. It depends on dollars. It depends on global oil prices. Those are some of the factors that account for the high cost of drugs, especially, drugs for non-communicable diseases. It is beyond the scope of what NMA can do. What we must continue to do is to beg the government”, he said.
“Most of the drugs you see in Nigeria apart from being fake, they are substandard. You go to hospital, they give you 500mg paracetamol. But some people went back to the labs and you will find out that it does not contain 500mg. It contains only 200mg but they wrote 500mg on it. How can it work? How will the person get better despite paying money for it? The ones produced in Nigeria are not produced properly they are fake. Those are the problems we have.
“So, government should also ensure that our regulatory bodies do the needful. Sanction any drug manufacturing company that is putting lesser quantity in drugs and sell to people. Government should give the manufacturer enabling environment. All the raw materials are in this country. It is just the failure of leadership. That is why we cannot manufacture those things and the only way we can get drugs cheap is for the drugs to be produced in Nigeria“, he said.
The medical expert, who advised journalists to pay adequate attention to their health, said that early detection of sickness saves lives.
He said that people should go for regular medical check-up such as test for sugar level, blood test, blood pressure, among others to detect sickness in early stage.
Dr. Ayodele also charged journalists to double check all medical posts on internet from medical experts before disseminating such, saying that fake medical news abound in circulation.
Earlier, the Kwara state Commissioner for communication, Harriet Adenike Oshatimehi urged Journalists in the state to take the issue of their health as a priority by going for regular check-up as they run around to gather information for the general public.
She said often times, journalists don’t have time to take good care of their health because of the pressure of their work noted that it is when they are well that they can be able to disseminate information as she lauded the Press Week Committee for putting up the programme
The Press Week Committee Chairman, Mallam Rabiu Muhammed in his address said the purpose of the programme was for members to know how to take care of their health, particularly certain illments that they may be suffering in their body system.