Those found to be guilty of producing and selling fake drugs should be given a death sentence, a clinical expert and President of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, Prof Fola Tayo has said.
He said this is why Nigerian health indices are very poor and the healthcare manufacturing sector of the country is not thriving and capacity utilisation in the industry is low at 40 percent.
Prof Tayo, who is also the Pro-Chancellor for Caleb University spoke in Lagos at a Colloquium organised in celebration of the 80th birthday of the Chairman of Bond Chemicals Industries, Chief Theophilus Omotosho in Lagos.
He said the pharmaceutical industry is worth 200 billion dollars, the reason why government should ban the importation of luxury drugs that have the capacity to be produced in the country. This, he said is necessary since Nigerians consume a large amount of medicines on a daily basis.
While faulting measures that have made the manufacturing of such drugs in Nigeria, he added that high interest rates imposed on producers; a lack of pragmatic implementation of policies and lack of moratorium have caused manufacturers slow pace of production. Also, NAFDAC numbers have been bastardised.
He said: “the manufacturing industry should be seen as a pivot to take Nigeria to greatness, by producing medicines such as anti-malaria in large quantity will yield immense returns to government. In terms of law and practice of Pharmacy, Nigeria ranks the highest, yet, compliance is zero.”
The pharmacist prided in the many Nigerian prequalified pharmacists who have become World Health Organisation (WHO) certified and able to bid national and international tenders, and called on the reorganisation of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to be seen as a vibrant supervisory agency.
Chairman of Sickle Cell Foundation, Prof Olu Akinyanju, who spoke on: Fighting Sickle Cell Disease-Innovation and Philanthropy Perspectives thanked Bond Chemicals for producing Oxyurea Capsules, which reduces crisis in Sickle Cell patients from three to four annually to one.
While urging Nigerians not to shy away from marrying sickle cell carriers, he described the Centre in Idi-Araba, Lagos as an African pride and the best in the country, adding that it is looking into setting up a Bone Marrow Transplant Centre in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), to help carriers produce AA blood type and reduce the number of people who travel abroad for such treatment, a project which will cost N300million.