By Dipo Olowookere
The Pharmaceutical Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG–MAN) has commended the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) for its role in attracting international recognition and acceptance for the local pharmaceutical industry.
This commendation was given by the Chairman of the group, Pharmacist Oke Akpa who led a delegation of the MAN group to a courtesy visit on the Director General of SON, Mr Osita Aboloma in his office in Abuja recently.
According to Pharmacist Akpa, the certification of many of the group’s member companies to the world acclaimed ISO Quality Management System Standards by SON has provided them a greater leverage for competitiveness both locally and internationally, as well as enhanced their reputation in dealing with international partners.
He reiterated the commitment of the over 120 members of the group to ensuring that Nigerians continue to have sustainable access to high quality and affordable medicines and enjoined SON to continue its efforts of ensuring adherence to standards and quality as the main competitive tool for manufacturers.
The Pharmaceutical Group Chairman commended the cordial relationship that had existed between SON and the group while also expressing appreciation for the regulatory role which according to him has been adding great value to the manufacturers.
He expressed concern over the ECOWAS Common External Tariff aimed at facilitating trade and strengthening regional integration, stressing that the adoption can also expose the region to the risk of dumping, where policies favour importation over local manufacturing.
Risks associated with dumping according to him include, insecure access to medicines due to dependence on importation; lack of capacity to develop contextual solutions to health issues; widespread job losses and pervasive unemployment and exposure to high levels of faking and counterfeiting.
Responding, the SON boss assured the PMG–MAN of his organisation’s commitment to ensuring standards and quality in the pharmaceuticals manufacturing sector.
To demonstrate the commitment, he announced continuity in the waivers being enjoyed by the pharmaceutical manufacturing group under the SON off-shore Conformity Assessment programme for importation of raw materials and machinery.
Mr Aboloma stated that SON would continue to partner with the group in the area of capacity development of its members on regulatory requirements and management system standards.
He reiterated SON’s support for high tariffs on imported finished pharmaceutical products that Nigeria has the capability to produce in order to spur local production and help the economy to grow.
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