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Nigeria Attracts $240 Million Investment for Local Pharmaceutical Coys, Initiates Lassa Fever Vaccine Development

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CEM REPORT, HEALTH | Nigeria secures a $240 million investment for local pharmaceutical manufacturing, aiming to reduce reliance on imports. Additionally, the government launches efforts to develop a vaccine against Lassa fever, with promising progress on HPV vaccination.

Nigeria Secures $240 Million Investment for Local Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

In a significant move towards bolstering its pharmaceutical industry, the Nigerian federal government announced on Wednesday a landmark investment deal worth $240 million with a prominent Brazilian pharmaceutical company. This investment is aimed at fostering the local manufacturing of generic pharmaceuticals within the country, signaling a pivotal shift towards reducing dependency on imports.

The disclosure was made during a press briefing held in Abuja by the Minister of Health, who highlighted the government’s commitment to driving local production. While the name of the Brazilian pharmaceutical firm remains undisclosed, the minister revealed that at least three pharmaceutical companies have shown keen interest in investing in Nigeria, underscoring the growing attractiveness of the nation’s healthcare sector to foreign investors.

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Furthermore, as part of the government’s strategy to boost local manufacturing, two diagnostic companies are set to establish a manufacturing facility in Lagos State, with plans for its launch slated for December 2024. Emphasizing the government’s dedication to prioritizing local production, the minister hinted at an impending executive order aimed at curbing the high cost of medical imports, thus incentivizing the demand for domestically manufactured medical products and devices.

However, the minister expressed concerns over Nigeria’s current over-reliance on imports for raw materials and medical equipment, citing the need for concerted efforts to reverse this trend. To address this challenge, the government is poised to enforce the 5+5 policy of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), mandating pharmaceutical firms to domesticate production after marketing drugs for five years—a measure aimed at reducing import dependency and fostering indigenous manufacturing.

In addition to regulatory reforms, the government is working to streamline processes for manufacturers and has allocated funds in the 2024 budget for pooled procurement of key pharmaceuticals to subsidize costs, thereby creating a more conducive environment for local producers.

Moreover, to enhance the pharmaceutical infrastructure nationwide, the government has initiated the construction of pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states, in collaboration with Drug Management Agencies. Complementing this effort, the installation of the Warehousing Management Information System (WMIS) – M Supply is underway, aimed at improving accountability and transparency in pharmaceutical supply chain management.

Nigeria Initiates Development of Lassa Fever Vaccine

In a bid to combat the recurring threat of Lassa fever outbreaks, the Nigerian government has embarked on efforts to develop a vaccine against the deadly disease. The announcement comes in the wake of a suspected outbreak of Lassa fever in a military facility in Kaduna State, where 14 cases have been confirmed.

Health Minister, Pate, revealed the establishment of a special task force comprising the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and international partners to conduct studies on the disease and expedite vaccine development. Pate affirmed the government’s commitment to locally manufacturing the vaccine once developed, marking a significant step towards enhancing the nation’s disease preparedness and response capabilities.

Highlighting progress in vaccination initiatives, Pate disclosed that over 4.95 million eligible girls aged 9-14 years, representing 80% of the target group, have received HPV vaccination against cervical cancer. Phase 2 of the vaccination drive is scheduled to commence in May 2024 across various states, underscoring the government’s proactive approach towards safeguarding public health.

With these initiatives, Nigeria is poised to strengthen its healthcare infrastructure, promote local pharmaceutical manufacturing, and mitigate the impact of infectious diseases, thereby advancing towards a healthier and more resilient nation.

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