A recent study carried out by the Health Access Initiative has advised Nigerians to patronise made-in-Nigeria medicines.
The study revealed that medicines made in Nigeria, are still more affordable when compared to imported brands of the same medicines.
A comparative price analysis of local and imported brands done by the study showed that the cost of local brand or made in Nigeria brand of Anti-malarial (ACT) medicines with Arthemeter + Lumefantrine tablet x 6 active ingredients costs N500 while the imported brand, Co-Artem cost N1,600.
Also the local brand of the anti-diabetic drug with Glibenclamide 5mg tablet 10 x 10 active ingredients, Glibenclamide costs N900 while the imported brand Daonil costs N3,000.
The study’s findings invalidate the argument that the 20% Import Adjustment Tax has any influence on the affordability of medicines for the average Nigerian.
It will be recalled that in the 2016 Fiscal Policy, government placed a 20% Import Adjustment Tax on four categories of medicines which Nigerian manufacturers can satisfy local consumption.
The move was aimed at ensuring sustainable access to high quality and affordable medicines, protecting the local industry, increasing employment for Nigerians and attracting foreign investment.
Health Policy Experts have confirmed that the measures highlighted in the 2016 Fiscal Policy will prevent dumping from foreign countries as well as further limit exposure to fake drugs.
In a related development, Minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole during a meeting with members of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), recently in Abuja said the Federal Ministry of Health was committed to partnering with local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies to ensure access to quality medicines for Nigerians at affordable cost.
He said that import duties on imported drugs would remain while waiver on tariffs would be sought on imported drugs that are not yet manufactured in Nigeria, adding that it was one of the ways of encouraging competiveness and creating enabling environment for local drug manufacturers.
National President of PMG-MAN, Dr. S. Okechukwu Akpa, said that the fiscal policy of the government was not responsible for the recent hike in cost of medicines witnessed across the country. He called on the Federal Government to assist PMG-MAN by adopting the Expedited Medicine’s Access Programme (E-MAP) and ensuring access to forex for basic raw materials required for production.