Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has refuted claims that the exit of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is behind the rising drug prices in Nigeria. She addressed these speculations in Lagos, stating that the primary reason for the price hike is the depreciation of the naira.
GSK, a British multinational pharmaceutical company, announced its plans to cease operations in Nigeria in August. The company had been in the country for 51 years. Adeyeye pointed out that commodity prices had already increased even before GSK’s planned exit.
She also noted that some of GSK’s products had seen a decrease in prices.
According to Adeyeye, NAFDAC encourages local manufacturing. GSK had collaborated with local manufacturers, so not all their products were imported. She also highlighted the issue of foreign exchange as a significant challenge for multinational companies operating in Nigeria.
The recent clarification by NAFDAC’s Director-General about the non-impact of GSK’s exit on drug prices is a crucial development. It dispels the notion that the exit of a major pharmaceutical company would necessarily lead to a spike in drug prices.
However, it also raises questions about the fundamental factors affecting Nigeria’s healthcare cost.
The depreciation of the naira is cited as the main reason for the increase in drug prices. This highlights the need for economic stability as a prerequisite for affordable healthcare.
The government must address the root causes of currency depreciation to ensure that essential commodities like drugs remain accessible to the public.
The issue of foreign exchange also looms large for multinational companies. It becomes challenging for these companies to repatriate funds to their parent companies.
This could discourage foreign investment in the healthcare sector, which is already underfunded. Immediate action is needed to address these economic challenges and ensure the availability of affordable healthcare.
Did You Know?
- NAFDAC was established in 1993 to regulate and control Nigeria’s manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, and sale of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, and medical devices.
- GlaxoSmithKline is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.
- The Nigerian pharmaceutical market is one of the fastest-growing in Africa, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 9%.
- The depreciation of the naira has been a significant issue affecting various sectors in Nigeria, including healthcare.
- Nigeria spends less than 5% of its GDP on healthcare, below the global average.