Vice Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kwara chapter, Dr Adedayo Aderibigbe, has blamed the high cost of drugs in the country on his importation levies.
Aderibigbe stated this in an interview with newsmen in Ilorin.
The medical practitioner lamented that most of the drugs that could cure serious ailments were not being produced locally.
“Nigeria cannot produce most of the drugs. Even the vaccines that we give those children in government hospitals were donated to Nigeria.
“That is why they say in most hospitals that they are not charging you for vaccine but for cotton wool and spirit.
“Unless government engages pharmaceutical companies to produce those drugs locally, they will remain expensive and out of the reach of an average Nigerian. This is because the importation depends on exchange rate.
“These are some of the factors responsible for the high cost of drugs, especially the ones for non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.
On what the NMA was doing to address these challenges, the NMA chief said it was beyond the powers of the association.
Aderibigbe said that some of the pharmaceutical companies in the country could produce drugs at more affordable prices, if an enabling environment was created for them by government.
He also called on relevant regulatory agencies in the country to ensure production of genuine products.
according to him, “Most of the drugs you see in Nigeria today are either fake or substandard.
“When you go to hospital and they give you 500mg paracetamol. Subject the drug to laboratory test and you will discover that it is only 200mg as against the 500mg that was put on it.
“How will it then work? How will the person on whom the drug was administered get better?, he queried, adding “these are some of the problems we are having.” n