Nigeria – Prospect for the local pharmaceutical industry

January 27, 2013 9:24 am0 commentsViews: 183

may_and_baker1The health needs of a nation reflect on a certain essential medicines consumed by the population. With the determining factor in the pharmaceutical business dependent on increasing disease pattern, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines such as analgesic, antimalarials and multivitamins make up a large share of the nigerian market. Painkillers, also known as analgesics or antipyretics have the largest market share of therapeutic classes of medicines locally produced due to their affordability, availability and widespread use for a wide range of symptoms.

The revelation, contained in a recent document review of the nation’s pharmaceutical sector tagged “Global United Nationals Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Project”, shows that analgesic constitute 25% of drugs produced in Nigeria. Others include antibiotics (15%), multivitamins+haemanitics (15%), antimalarial medicines (14%), antihypertensives (8%), cough and cold preparations (5%), antiretroviral medicines (6%), external/topical preparations (5%), antiTB medicines (4%) and others (3%).

The report shows that the existing large market size, strong demande and the need for management of infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and neglected childhood diseases constitute enormous opportunity for pharmaceuticals companies to produce therapeutic drugs to meet these needs of Nigerians.

Currently, Nigeria is responsible for about 60 % of medicines consumed in the ECOWAS by volume, underlining the huge sub-regional market of an estimated 600 million people, according to Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group, Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN). Trade incentives introduced by ECOWAS for pharmaceuticals within West Africa are helping to promote movement of pharmaceuticals within the sub-region, experts believe. Furthermore, the West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA) is working to enhance confidence in the quality of medicines produced locally and promote brusiness in the sub-region.

Estimates of the size of the nation’s pharmaceutical market vary. Business Monitor International (BMI) in 2009 estimated Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market at $600 million. Out of this figure, BMI attributes the larges share of $418 million to generic medicines, $121 million to OTC products, and $61 million to patented products.

Equally, Frost & Sullivan, a growing partnership company, estimated a pharmaceutical market value of $740 million in 2009. Out of this figure, $266,4 million was attributed to generic medicines, %177,6 million to branded products, and $296 million to OTC products.

Drug manufacturers in the country are faced with several constraints, including low capacity utilisation, under-capitalisation, a weak financial base, high production costs, as well as difficulty in meeting WHP prequalification criteria.

However, with some pharmaceutical firms such as Evans, SWIPHA, CHI Pharmaceuticals, May&Baker, and Fidson Healthcare in the process of upgrading and/or building new facilities in preparation to meet these prequalification requirements, we believe this development will promote local production, given the increased opportunity to participate in international tenders, such as WHO, United Nationals Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNITAID and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Nou doubt, WHO prequalification will help the nation to become self-sufficient in the manufacture of essential medicines, which will invariably have multiplier effects on the economy with creation of thousands of jobs and more foreign exchange earnings for the country.

Nigeria can learn from the India experience. The emergence of India’s pharmaceutical industry on the global landscape as a strong generic player allowed only process patents in pharmaceutical products. This development kept the cost of medicines at affordable levels by enabling domestic pharmaceutical firms to build technical expertise in reverse engineering of existing medicines by modifying the manufacturing process, thereby becoming efficient producers of generic drugs.


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