The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has warned Nigerians of a hike in drug price which might take effect in a few weeks. This impending situation is as a result of the new 350 percent increase in levy imposed on drug and product registration in the country by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Speaking on the matter, the Chairperson of PSN, Bolanle Adeniran said, “While the industry was grappling with challenges of delays, NAFDAC made the most damaging move in the last couple of weeks by increasing drug and product registration levy by a whopping 350 per cent.”
Going by the policy, it now costs N1.05 million from N350,000 to register a prescription only medicine. Other regular over-the-counter drugs have moved from N1 million to N4 million in Nigeria.
This policy, the PSN is insisting is a harsh one and will have an adverse effect in a matter of months.
“If this draconian policy is not reversed or immediately remedied, the PSN, Lagos State Branch, wishes to warn through this forum that Nigeria will experience at least a 100 percent increase in drug prices in about six months, with grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of health in our nation,” Adeniran added.
In an interview with Ventures Africa, professional pharmacist, Pharm. Rosemary.A. elaborated more on the matter from a clinical point of view.
As a medical practitioner, Rosemary opined that the decision, if not reversed, could result in a reduction in the availability of medicines, withdrawal of potential investors as well as manufacturing companies which in turn would hinder the continuity of drug production in the country.
“If it isn’t reversed, the average Nigerian may not have access to, or be able to afford good pharmaceutical care,” she said.
Another point NAFDAC needs to put into consideration is the tendency of this high tariff to increase the circulation and purchase of substandard or fake drugs. An increase in drug price will give room for adulterated and unregistered drugs to cloud the market. And the population who can’t afford genuine product at its exorbitant price will be left to purchase this deadly merchandise.
The issue of fake drugs in Nigerian markets is one that isn’t new to NAFDAC, the agency has shown several efforts towards wiping its spread.
Speaking at a press conference held in Lagos recently, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye said: “the agency hereby wishes to inform the general public that the fight against fake drugs and other unwholesome NAFDAC regulated products is something that the agency considers as a daily routine activity.”
This new policy negates the action of NAFDAC towards eradicating fake drugs. Hopefully, there will be a reverse of this tariff increase.