The unfavourable manufacturing environment in the country has continued to make producing quality drugs locally, tougher, says Managing Director, Pharmatex Industries Limited, Prince Christopher Nebe.
Nebe who hosted members of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) at the Industry’s Head Office in Lagos lamented how the manufacturing plant commissioned with funfare in 2012 with 100% production capacity has dwindled in seven years to 30% manufacturing capacity thus throwing some of its workforce into the labour market.
According to Nebe, “Local manufacturers are just there, managing in the balance. We are not given any encouragement and we are just lagging behind others developing nations”.
The Industrialist who said he ventured into Pharmaceutical manufacturing to help build the industry and put the local economy in the hands of Nigerians lamented, ” Its so unfortunate that after spending fortune to build our local drug plant we discover people prefer foreign goods and drugs to locally manufactured products; Nigerians do not even know that those produced here are better than those manufactured abroad” Nebe pointed out.
He said he had been to India to understudy what obtains and found that most of the drugs that come from there are not comparable to what we have produced locally in Nigeria.
“Some of the drug manufacturing are carried out, in one room apartment. Here we have standard plant and laboratories but which are producing below capacity. Our Laboratories are adjudged one of the best around yet, we are underutilizing all our equipment” Nebe lamented.
Corroborating the sad tales by the MD, the Plant Manager, Pharmacist Ezekiel Ibidapo explained that most of the under-utillised Plants were installed with the mind of “future cutting edge technology” as obtained in developed countries but the downward trend in the countries social infrastructure such as power, roads and high tariffs at the ports for raw materials not produced in the quality needed in the country has contributed to loss in manufacturing capacity.
According to Ibidapo, “We really need help to survive the harsh conditions that is crippling production and forcing many to opt for substandard goods imported from abroad all of which endanger the lives of Nigerians”, said Ibidapo.
“We truly need support from government and encouragement in terms of electricity”, noted Nebe.
He is worried that more often than expected, “the Gas Plant we buy to generate power at times would not work due to the problems in the Niger Delta and we then rely on diesel which is just too expensive for our low level 30% capacity utilization”.
How far can Pharmatex Go?
“We sometimes ask ourselves what exactly are we still doing in drug business when we advertise our quality drug products and people demand for these quality products but we are unable to match demand due to underutilization of our plants?: Nebe queried
The Quality Assuarance Manager, Mr Segun Ariyo told HEWAN members, “drugs churned out of Pharmatex have been certified by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) to be of best world standard:
WE are set to bid for global recognition and patronage by the World Health Organisation with our world class quality Laboratory if the environment would permit us to shine with our best”, Ariyo noted.
He maintains that local drug manufacturing sincerely needs favourable condition and policies to survive in Nigeria