Cost Of Drugs: Emzor Set To Commence Production Of Pharmaceutical Ingredients In Nigeria - Official

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cost of drugs emzor set to commence production of pharmaceutical ingredients in nigeria official
Cost of Drugs: Emzor set to commence production of pharmaceutical ingredients in Nigeria - Official

Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, an indigenous pan-African manufacturer and distributor of medicines and surgical equipment, among others, has announced its readiness to begin local manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) plant.

The move is part of the benefits of Nigeria's efforts to address the rising cost of drugs and other medical consumables in Nigeria.

The facility is expected to commence local production of API before the end of the year, according to the company's Director of Strategy, Funke Asiru.

Ms Asiru spoke at the Nigeria-EU Business Forum (NEUBF) 9th forum, titled: "Investing in Jobs and Sustainable Future," organised by EUinNigeria under EU Global Gateway.

She said the move aims to improve the country's healthcare system as the facility will produce APIs for various medicines, including those used to treat malaria and cancer.

In April, Emzor announced plans to construct an API facility in Sagamu, Ogun State, worth $23 million (about N25 billion) to combat the pervasive threat of malaria in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

Funding, establishment of API

According to Ms Asiru, the project is being funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

"With the European Investment Bank (EIB), we started doing our investment. So we're not there yet. By the end of the year, by God's grace, we will be there," she said.

She further stated that establishing the API plant is seen as a significant development in Nigeria's healthcare sector, as it will reduce the country's reliance on imported medicines and improve access to quality healthcare for millions of Nigerians.

She said that "the COVID-19 disrupted the global supply chain. Therefore, by producing our drugs, it will reduce our vulnerability."

COVID-19 impact

Ms Asiru stated that the need for an indigenous API arose during the COVID-19 outbreak, recounting when events that led to the closure of borders made it hard for importation.

She said: "The COVID showed us that, you know, sometimes there is no way. So for us, our APIs, we get from India, we get from China. I will never forget the day when the headline came in where it was like, everybody was losing their borders.

"And we thought, okay, we can't drop everything. So everybody was like, I'm going to look after myself. The Indians said the same, and suddenly we had no APIs."

New executive order

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu recently signed a new executive order aiming to boost local production of healthcare products and reduce costs.

The targeted healthcare products include pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, devices such as needles and syringes, biologicals, and medical textiles.

According to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, the new order has introduced zero tariffs, excise duties, and VAT on specified machinery, equipment, and raw materials.

Mr Pate noted that the order is pivotal to the success of the initiative for unlocking the healthcare value chain, which was approved in October 2023 by the President.