NIGERIA MARKET IS TOO BIG TO BE IGNORED, SAYS INDIAN ENVOY AS NAFDAC DG COMMISSIONS NEW PHARMACEUTICAL FACTORY
By Ngozi Onyeakusi—The Indian envoy has emphasized the significance of the Nigerian market, highlighting its substantial size, as the Director General of NAFDAC inaugurated a new pharmaceutical factory.
Despite the exit of notable pharmaceutical companies, Shri Chandramouli Kumar Kern, the India Consul General, affirmed that Indian manufacturers remain committed to investing in Nigeria. He asserted that the Nigerian market’s substantial size made it impossible for any sensible investor to overlook, despite the challenges. The Indian Envoy conveyed this message during the inauguration of a multi-billion Naira pharmaceutical facility by Artemis Laboratories Limited in Ota, Ogun State. He also revealed that another set of Indian investors had received approval to invest $25 million in the Nigerian economy.
There is a pressing need for local pharmaceutical manufacturing to meet the healthcare requirements of the Nigerian population. India is prepared to collaborate and emphasizes a commitment beyond merely exporting medicines to Nigeria. The intent is to work closely with Nigerian businesses, encouraging the establishment of numerous Indian manufacturing companies within Nigeria, he stated.
While acknowledging that certain life-saving drugs requiring extensive research might not currently be produced locally in Nigeria, he questioned the logic behind importing common medications like Paracetamol. He emphasized that resources allocated to importing basic drugs such as Paracetamol could be better utilized in other critical areas to foster the development of the Nigerian economy.
The Indian envoy affirmed India’s support for NAFDAC’s 5+5 policy, designed to promote the growth of the manufacturing sector for the overall development of the Nigerian economy. He highlighted the journey of Artemis Laboratories Limited, stating that the company transitioned from importation to local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.
However, he announced India’s readiness to fill the gap left by the exit of some major pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, emphasizing that the Nigerian market holds immense importance and strategic value that cannot be overlooked.
Ambassador Kumar Kern acknowledged the substantial transformation in NAFDAC but encouraged the Agency to address the request for an increased number of product registrations, particularly for investors engaged in local manufacturing of medical products. This, he explained, was crucial for ensuring the viability and sustainability of the substantial investments made in constructing the multi-billion Naira factory.
Highlighting the challenge, he stated, ‘’Huge investments in machinery becomes unsustainable by having a small range of NAFDAC registered medicines. They need approval for a large number of products to be able to make it profitable’’
Echoing similar sentiments, Mr. Rajesh Gupta, the Group Managing Director of Artemis Laboratories Limited, emphasized that the substantial investments in the new plant mark a significant milestone in the group’s dedication to advancing healthcare and contributing to the well-being of Nigerian communities.
Highlighting the challenge, he stated, “Huge investments in machinery become unsustainable by having a small range of NAFDAC registered medicines. They need approval for a larger number of products to be able to make it profitable.”
Mr. Gupta characterized the investment as a strategic and longstanding commitment to advancing Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industries, fostering job creation, and facilitating technology transfer. He outlined their plan to emerge as a prominent pharmaceutical player in the region, boasting a robust production capacity of over 2 billion tablets annually.
‘’We have already secured additional space to establish this venture. This marks the initiation of a journey towards growth and development for the betterment of the Nigerian citizens and the broader ECOWAS region, he expressed, emphasizing their profound belief in Nigeria’s healthcare sector potential and the significance of delivering high quality Artemis medicines to a wide audience
He highlighted the cutting-edge technology employed in the facility, adhering to the highest standards to ensure the production of safe and effective pharmaceutical products. Mr. Gupta emphasized that the company’s commitment extended beyond manufacturing, as they were in Nigeria to encourage collaborations, support local talent, and contribute to the development of the ecosystem through research, innovation, and sustainable practices
The investor highlighted Nigeria’s potential to emerge as the primary producer and distributor of essential medicines in the broader Sub-Saharan African region. Expressing appreciation, he acknowledged NAFDAC for its invaluable support in establishing the business, emphasizing the agency’s guidance and collaboration as crucial factors in bringing the venture to fruition. He conveyed gratitude for NAFDAC’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of healthcare products and expressed anticipation for their ongoing partnership.
The company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nand Kumar, stated that the state-of-the-art facility would enable their team of investors to significantly increase the production of high quality medications. These medications include those for treating malaria, infections, iron deficiencies, and pain management essential for daily use. He emphasized the pivotal role of the local manufacturing in diminishing dependence on imported medications, making them more affordable and accessible to the general public.
Mr Kumar expressed the management’s eagerness and ambition to establish additional medicine factories in Nigeria in the near future, anticipating market growth, increased demand, and investment opportunities within the healthcare sector.
During the inauguration of the new plant, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control NAFDAC, conveyed her excitement, stating,’’This is a positive day for us in Nigeria
She mentioned the prevalent news regarding drug shortages and the departure of major pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, while expressing her enthusiasm about being present at the opening of a local manufacturing company, Artemis Laboratories Limited. Appreciating the investment made in this venture, she remarked, “For us to be here today, witnessing the establishment of a local manufacturing company, is a significant development for Nigeria. I want to express gratitude for your financial commitment to this endeavor
Commending Artemis for their courageous initiative, the NAFDAC boss acknowledged the impact of the 5+5 policy, which encourages companies that have been importing products that can be manufactured in Nigeria to transition to local production. She revealed that about 30 percent of new companies have emerged based on this policy, emphasizing the invitation for importers to start manufacturing in Nigeria or form partnership with existing companies
Prof. Adeyeye praised Artemis for taking this bold step for the benefit of the country and urged the company to prioritize quality. She emphasized the importance of quality, stating, ‘’because you are going to use the medicines you are making. If it’s not good, it’s going to affect you. If not you, it may be your relatives or anyone close to you. Think quality.
The Director General expressed her delight at Artemis’s remarkable commitment to Nigeria, noting the substantial investment made in the new factory. She emphasized that this bold and forward-thinking step positions the company not only to address healthcare needs but also to contribute significantly to economic development and technological advancement in the country. The decision to invest in the factory, according to her, signifies Artemis’ confidence in Nigeria’s economic potential as a hub for pharmaceutical production and innovation.
Additionally, she highlighted that the establishment of this facility and other emerging pharmaceutical companies will fill the void left by the departure of some multinational pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria.
Prof. Adeyeye underscored the importance of producing high-quality products, urging the company to manufacture items that enhance consumers’ lives rather than diminish them. She stressed the need for competitiveness in the global market as well.