… PSN, NIROPHARM, PMG-MAN Express Optimism
The National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has shown strong support towards Multinational Healthcare Company Sanofi’s step to sign pact with May & Baker Nigeria Plc on local drug production.
The French company at a memorable occasion that was witnessed by dignitaries in the Pharmaceutical Industry, signed a pact with the Leading manufacturer, May & Baker, on local production of a range of its drugs.
Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye described the occasion as “special day for Nigeria, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and all technical arms of PSN which have kept advocating for sourcing of Nigeria’s medicine needs to be domiciled in local drug production.
Adeyeye commended the two giant Pharmaceutical companies for taking the remarkable steps “to provide made-in-Nigeria medicines that are of safe, effective and of high-quality standards”.
Adeyeye who was represented by the Director, Registration & Regulatory Directorate, Dr. Monica Eimunjeze, recalled that one of the plans of the Africa Union (AU) under the Lead Partnership for Africa’s Development, is a pharmaceutical manufacturing plan for Africa, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“The plan recommends that Africa manufactures and produces medicines for Africa and Africans”, noted the DG.
According to her, “NAFDAC is very proud when we stand with Sanofi, May & Baker , anyone or company that propagates high quality and safe medicines. We are even prouder when these medicines are manufactured in Nigeria. We expect to see more of this kind of partnership and more locally-manufactured medicines that meet global quality standards.
“This partnership speaks to that because Sanofi will not allow its products to be manufactured in a factory that it does not feel comfortable that it has not met or attained global standard,” the NAFDAC DG averred.
President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa who chaired the occasion, pointed out that Nigeria had since 1995, adopted a policy to manufacture at least 70% of its essential medicines locally. He commended Sanofi and May & Baker for taking the initiative and called on more companies to join the train.
Ohuabunwa added, “We should not deceive ourselves to think that we can have every product manufactured locally, we don’t have the technology, the capacity and the resources. But we can begin to do something and work towards the target set by stakeholders at a round table held last year that 50% of our essential medicines be produced locally by 2020”.
General Manger Rx and Country Chair Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Pharm Folake Odediran drew attention to the Federal Government’s policy to ensure national drug security through self-sufficiency in supply of essential medicines.
She noted, “At Sanofi, we understand that local sourcing of essential medicines is central to achieving government objectives. We remain committed to this noble aspiration.
“Today, the formal signing of a manufacturing agreement with May & Baker Nigeria Plc is proof of our commitment to localization. We will continue to contribute our quota towards availability of very efficacious, high-quality made-in-Nigeria medicines”
According to the General Manager “Building strategic partnership with May & Baker Nigeria Plc to support our local manufacturing ambitions is based on its (M&B) rich history of producing high quality medicines in Nigeria. It also follows rigorous due-diligence exercise and successful compliance outcomes in line with local laws and our global policies”.
Managing Director/CEO of May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nnamdi Okafor described the event as “a mere formal ceremony because the two companies had been working together for many years”.
Okafor explained, “We began this collaboration with two products but today Sanofi has increased the number to five, an indication that the partnership is working. And I make bold to assure them they will be impressed enough to increase the basket of products to be manufactured by us,” he said.
According to Okafor, “May & Baker now has the largest pharmaceutical facilities in the West African sub region, the May & Baker Pharmacentre, which was commissioned in 2011 and GMP-certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO)in 2014.
“It was an expensive and challenging project but looking at the industry today and the number of similar projects that dot the pharmaceutical manufacturing landscape, we feel justified for taking the bold step.
“The Centre offers other services such as product formulation and consultancy in quality assurance. The capacity of the Pharmacentre remains underutilized and our doors are open to accommodate other international brands that will like to heed the call for localization of production,” he added.
The event was also witnessed by President, Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM), Femi Soremekun and the Executive Secretary, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Frank Muonemeh.
Other dignitaries at the event were Director, Supply Chain Sanofi Africa, Valeria Saviano, representatives of the Nigeria Customs Service and heads of pharmaceutical businesses in Nigeria.