The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to invest more in research and development whilst also stating that mergers and acquisition is the way forward in growing the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Africa.
This was made known during the 4th Conference and Annual General Meeting of West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA) tagged: " Growing the Africa- based Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry", in Lagos recently.
Presenting an address, Chairman, PMGMAN, Mr. Bunmi Olaopa, identified concerted effort as one of the most effective options towards moulding pharmaceutical firms in Africa to stand firm in the global sphere and thrive successfully.
Corroborating his views, Deputy Director, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Mrs Emily Olalere who was representing the Acting Registrar of the Council said : "To grow the local manufacturing industry, we have to invest more in research and in doing so, collaborate with the academia and other develop countries like India and Europe. With that, we would get closer to manufacturing essential drugs for use in the African sub-region and even globally."
Meanwhile, Mr Olaopa expressed displeasure at the fact that only four African manufacturers were listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 's pre - qualification programme, with none coming from the West African sub-region.
Lamenting further he said that the continent still lagged behind in major breakthroughs, financial benefits and global funding of industry-developing initiatives.
According to him, the current turnover of Africa-based pharmaceutical industry is less than five per cent of global business. "The level of research and development is still too low."
Citing the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation's position, Olaopa said Nigeria and Africa had immense potential in agriculture and pharmaceuticals but despite the potential, fails to keep apace with the global trend.
He enlisted poor infrastructure, which has continued to engender high cost of production; low level of technology; continued importation of active ingredients; persistent barriers to cross-border trade, and human resource development needs as some of the obstacles to the industry's growth.
According to him, for these obstacles to be dealt with, certain things must be put in place. For instance, such measures, he said, would include improvement in good manufacturing practice and processing of international certificate and encouragement of mergers and acquisition across African borders.