Africa Asia Middle East Français Português Subscribe IRIN Site Map
Global HIV/AIDS news and analysis
Advanced search
 Thursday 20 December 2007
Weekly reports 
In-Depth reports 
Country profiles 
Fact files 
Really Simple Syndication Feeds 
About PlusNews 
Contact PlusNews 
Print report
NIGERIA: Local ARV manufacturers want state support

Photo: M. Sayagues/PlusNews
Local manufacturers of antiretroviral drugs say they are struggling because of lack of government patronage.
LAGOS, 12 October 2007 (PlusNews) - Local manufacturers of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are calling for the government to increase tariffs on imported anti-AIDS medicines, and discourage aid agencies and foreign governments from donating free drugs, to help them continue producing medicines for Nigerians living with HIV.

"The government should put a stop to accepting drug assistance from all these foreign countries, or they should not engage in it in a way that affects local manufacturers because, in addition to the fact that we are providing quality drugs, we are also helping development and providing gainful employment," said Abiola Adebayo, sales and marketing director at Fidson Health Care, one of 11 companies producing ARVs in Nigeria.

According to Sam Ohuabunwa, chairman of the West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, "With the combined production capacity of Nigerian companies, and a few others in some West African countries, we are determined to do our best to meet the ARV needs in the region, just like we have been doing in the supply of other drugs."

The Economic Commission of West Africa (ECOWAS) facilitated a regional meeting in April to discuss the sustainability of producing quality, affordable HIV/AIDS drugs. "Experience has revealed that treatment costs will rise massively in the coming years unless something is done about the high prices of ARVs," ECOWAS President Dr Ibn Chambas told delegates.

"We as a region cannot rely on only the efforts of pharmaceutical companies to solve this problem. We need drastic changes in the public-sector strategy to achieve the desired affordable drugs."

Chambas recommended a public-private partnership approach as the best way of providing more cost-effective services to people living with HIV, and for generating new business opportunities.

Despite the purchase of larger quantities of locally produced ARVs by the Nigerian government this year, pharmaceutical companies say the amount is still insufficient to justify their investment in manufacturing the life-saving drugs.

Lamenting the stringent World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for the production of ARVs, with which local companies have to comply, in addition to registering new drugs with Nigeria's National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, Adebayo stressed that more support from government would also help bring down the high cost of the medicines.

He pointed out that many HIV-positive Nigerians still could not obtain ARVs from the government's treatment programme, and said local pharmaceutical companies were willing to support the government's efforts to provide treatment and curb the spread of the virus.

"Much as we are interested in profit, it is not the main motivating factor," Ohuabunwa agreed. "We are determined to step up our production level, considering many people who need ARVs are not getting them."

Prof Babatunde Oshotimehin, chairman of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), welcomed the local production of ARVs but said Nigeria could not afford to reject donated drugs. "They are helping us to meet increasing demands for drugs by persons living with HIV," he said. International donors also sometimes insist on the use of imported brand-name drugs for programmes they fund.

Local pharmaceutical companies produce 20 different types of ARVs but are finding it difficult to sell them and, in some cases, have had to donate drugs before they expired.
"If you look at the business of ARVs, it is mainly based on government patronage. Without patronage from government there is no way you can survive in the business," Naomi Sanni, another Fidson official, told IRIN/PlusNews.

With only about one in five people who need the drugs accessing them at present, Nigeria is lagging behind in providing ARV treatment, said a recent survey of Nigeria's ARV programme.

Although Nigeria's five-year plan aims to treat one million people by 2009, by March 2007 only about 124,572 adults and 5,279 children of the 555,000 who needed ARVs were getting them.


Theme(s): (IRIN) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (IRIN) Economy/Business - PlusNews, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews)


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Print report
FREE Subscriptions
Your e-mail address:

Submit your request
 More on Nigeria
GLOBAL: Pledges put UN response fund within “touching distance” of target
GLOBAL: More spent on hair care than climate conditioning
GLOBAL: "Political will" needed to change climate
GLOBAL: New tool to evaluate donors
GLOBAL: Hoping for a deal on the road to Bali
 More on Care/Treatment - PlusNews
LESOTHO: Grassroots solutions flourish in hard times
AFRICA: The route to the end-game
SOUTH AFRICA: Corruption could harm HIV/AIDS efforts
SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE: Wilson Moyo: "If it was easier to access documents, it would make our lives more bearable"
GLOBAL: Simple measures could radically reduce TB
Back | Home page

Services:  Africa | Asia | Middle East | Radio | Film & TV | Photo | E-mail subscription
Feedback · E-mail Webmaster · IRIN Terms & Conditions · Really Simple Syndication News Feeds · About PlusNews · Bookmark PlusNews · Donors

Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.