Struggling pharma industry wants implementation of Executive Order 03

Nigerian drug makers want the federal government to ask its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to implement Executive Order 03 to drive patronage of locally manufactured medicines.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari came up with Executive Order 03 in 2017 to enhance local content and boost patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods and services. It provides that local firms should be involved in any contract or patronage by MDAs at about 40 percent.

However, drug makers say implementation of the Executive Order has not been strong as no big tender has been seen from the government side.

One chief executive of a Lagos-based drug firm complained that the industry was gradually dying for lack of patronage, wondering what would become of the country’s medicines security if over 120 drug firms in the country were forced to collapse.

Okey Akpa,   chairman of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), confirmed that no big tender had come this year from the government side.

The pharma sector is struggling with major players unable to sustain production pre-2015 years. Already Swiss Pharma has been bought by an investor after experiencing early struggles, while Evans Medicals has gone under. Incidentally, these two drug makers got the WHO prequalification, which ordinarily should raise the level of their competitiveness. The pharma industry depends on import for over 50 percent of their raw materials, while patronage remains a major hurdle to cross. Capacity utilisation is less than 40 percent, say players in the industry.

 Another chief executive of a pharmaceutical industry told Real Sector Watch that the industry was struggling and some firms might go under except there were policies to protect existing investors that had pumped over N300 billion so far in the industry.

“The challenges of pharmaceutical companies reflect the problems facing the industry. Patronage is key and remains something the industry wants the government side. Also, you must look at a business case in terms of incentive or protection of an industry before asking players to upgrade,” Akpa said.


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