Artificial Intelligence Makes Pharmaceutical Research Less Expensive—NAPHARM Boss

December 14, 2022
NAPHARM pharmaceutical research

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The President of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM), Mr Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, has charged Nigerian pharmacists to begin to explore the use of artificial intelligence for pharmaceutical research and new drug discovery.

Speaking at the investiture of new fellows of the academy in Lagos on December 8, 2022, the pharmacist also disclosed that AI makes pharmaceutical research less expensive and more productive.

He explained that, “Researchers realize that in the time that it would have taken to test the efficacy of, say, a handful of chemical molecules manually, with AI, it is possible to test several hundreds of different chemical molecules.

“With AI, therefore, we can create better, safer and more affordable medicines within a much shorter time frame too.

“In addition to helping to ensure that basic facilities, including clean water and electricity, are available, government policy direction must also be such that deliberately enables AI to take root and grow.”

Mr Adelusi-Adeluyi lauded the progress being made globally in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence and machine Learning, calling on the government to help create the right environment that makes meaningful research possible.

The NAPHARM boss, who is a former Minister of Health, also emphasized the need for Nigeria to commit to producing active manufacturing ingredients (API) for drugs manufacturing, given the vast hydrocarbon resources that it is endowed with, rather than continued reliance on the importation of same raw materials, encouraging pharmacists in the country to engage the nation’s political leadership on the issue.

“Pharmacists need to enlighten the political leadership, including today’s presidential aspirants, on this issue and painstakingly interrogate them on their plans for utilizing Nigeria’s oil and gas deposits.

“The political leadership needs to better appreciate why a petrochemical industry is critical to Nigeria, and pharmacists have a role not only to continue to drive this enlightenment but also participate actively in the electoral process,” he said.

Speaking on reforms in the health sector, while presenting a paper titled Advancing Pharmacy for Economy Prosperity Nigeria, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Professor Cyril Usifoh, kicked against the step being taken to make the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) a revenue-generating agency, noting that it would make the prices of drugs and medicines to soar.

Professor Usifoh commended the increased participation of pharmacists in Nigerian politics, extolling the academy and pharmacists for their dedication towards ensuring the safety of lives of the citizenry and urged them to continue doing their best to reposition the pharmacy profession in the country.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inducted members, Mr Sadiq Umar said that the inductees, who were drawn from different spheres of endeavour, have particular responsibilities towards the academy and the pharmacy profession and urged the organisation to do the best they can to reposition the profession.

Business Post reports that 20 leading pharmacists were inducted into the academy, including the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the University of Benin, Professor Ray Ozolua; Managing Director of GSK Nigeria, Kunle Oyelana; Managing Director, Medplus Pharmacy Chain, Joke Bakare; Executive Director, the Nett Pharmacy Chain, Chris Ehimen; and Registrar of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Babashehu Ahmed.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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