Nigeria and India in Pharma agreement as expo is held in Lagos

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Nigeria and India: Excellent business relations

The Nigerian government have been advised to tone down official inspection of drugs by NAFDAC saying the system causes more harm than good to the pharmaceutical development of the nation.

The demand was part of a number of requests tabled by Indian Pharmaceutical members before  Dr Paul B Ohrii, the director general of the NAFDAC during an interactions session with the leaders of the industry in New Delhi.

“It is better that Nigeria enters into some bilateral agreement with India to accept the valid WHO GMP certificate issued by Indian regulatory authorities and avoid holding inspections again by the NAFDAC. It can save lots of time and procedural delays”, Ashutosh Gupta, member of the Pharmexcil COA (Committee of Administration) told a Nigerian delegation to India, led by Dr Paul B Ohri, the director general of the NAFDAC

They Pharmaceutical body also  sought some kind of financial incentives to attract Indian investors to Nigeria.

They also demanded for some financial incentives like tax holidays and free power to attract more investors from India.

The request is coming in view of the recent move by the Nigerian authorities who are asking for more Indian pharma players to set up manufacturing facilities in the country.

However the DG assured them that government would look into the requests.

Ohrii said that India was very important to Nigeria as the main importer of quality generic drugs.

NAFDAC

Ashutosh Gupta, member of the Pharmexcil COA (Committee of Administration), explained further: “We are initiating many steps to attract Indian companies to set up base in Nigeria. Besides, almost all those 22 companies blacklisted earlier have been cleared now and only a couple of them are left now.

“We also want the Indian companies to take part in the bids to supply drugs to the government programmes.”

“It is better that Nigeria enters into some bilateral agreement with India to accept the valid WHO GMP certificate issued by Indian regulatory authorities and avoid holding inspections again by the NAFDAC”, Gupta said, adding:” It can save lots of time and procedural delays.”

The chairman of SME panel of the Pharmexci, Nipun Jain added: “We look forward to some kind of support from the Nigerian Government in the form of tax holidays and free power. Power is a big problem there. Another request was to accept Indian Pharmacopoeia for the Nigerian market in the same way it has accepted British Pharmacopoeia. IP is as good and valid as BP”, he said.

Meanwhile, more than forty companies from India participated in a pharmaceutical exhibition organised by the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (Pharmexcil) in Nigeria”s commercial capital of Lagos on Wednesday.

The two-day fair, tagged, “Brand India Pharma”, witnessed a massive turnout from Nigerians seeking information or wanting to purchase Indian drugs.

In the opening ceremony, Nigeria’s drug regulatory body NAFDAC commended the firms for being World Health Organisation (WHO) Good Manufacturing Practices certified, a factor he said is not known among Nigeria pharmaceutical companies.

“Many Indian companies are WHO pre-qualified companies and we are working with them to transfer knowledge and technology to our people,” the chairman of regulatory body National Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), Paul Orhii, told a crowd that turned up to witness the opening ceremony of the two-day event.

He enthused that India has a lot to gain from cooperation and so does Nigeria, since it “is mutually beneficial cooperation”.

The High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mahesh Sachdev, reassured NAFDAC of the determination of Indian companies to tackle the menace of fake Indian medicines from non-Indian sources.

“I would also venture to suggest that the stakeholders could think in terms of entering in such areas as co-manufacture, distribution and retailing,” Sachdev said, urging a greater presence of Indian drug companies in Nigeria.

India occupies the status of first supplier of pharmaceutical products to Nigeria and its drugs enjoy wide patronage in the country of 150 million people.

Dr Paul Orhii, Nafdac Director General
Issues had arisen in the past over fake drugs alleged to be manufactured in India, but further investigations revealed they were produced in another country, but labelled “Made in India”.

Nigeria imports a large quantum of pharma products from India and many Indian companies producing and market pharmaceutical products already are existing in the country.

Furthermore, many Nigerians seeking medical attention abroad make India their preferred choice of destination due to  affordable charges and proficiency in medical operations and application.