NIGERIA – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has awarded US$400,000 in grant funding to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) of Nigeria for the establishment of an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) plant.
The grant represents a significant proportion of the estimated funds required to implement the project.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Companies in Africa rely heavily on the importation of APIs and excipients which are essential to formulate finished pharmaceutical products.
The Afreximbank grant will enable NIPRD to produce APIs locally in Nigeria. NIPRD’s API plant project is a critical step towards Nigeria’s pharmaceutical independence and self-sufficiency.
The investment by Afrexim Bank comes a few months after Nigeria’s leading pharmaceutical manufacture, Emzor, secured an API manufacturing deal with India’s Mangalam Drugs and Organics.
Emzor’s arrangement with Mangalam included an API technology transfer and licensing agreement which establishes a co-development basis for manufacturing APIs for the treatment of malaria which continues to be a leading cause of death on the African continent.
The company, led by Nigeria’s top influential lady, Dr Stella Okoli, is a pioneer in the Nigerian malaria space and was the first Nigerian indigenous pharmaceutical company to develop and manufacture artemether/lumefantrine, under the brand name Lokmal, launched in 2009.
Emzor is also at an advanced stage in the process of submitting a dossier to WHO-prequalification for Maldox, a project supported by Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) with funding from UNITAID.
The Afrexim funded project includes the development of a contextual training programme for pharmaceutical industry stakeholders, to ensure that key skills are acquired by industry players who represent the vanguard of essential medicines production on the continent.
Afreximbank’s financial support to the NIPRD APIs plant project will not only catalyze the security of supply of medicines across Africa but also promote the industrialization of the pharmaceutical sector and the consequent creation of jobs and income.
Currently, as much as 70 to 90 percent of drugs consumed in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, are constituted of imported drugs.
According to data analysts, even though some African countries have a handful of local companies who produce for the domestic market, most do not, and are currently uncompetitive for local drug production
This landmark partnership between NIPRD and Afreximbank opens a new perspective in the development of collaborative projects aimed at providing contextual solutions to issues that emerge on the continent.
This collaboration demonstrates a paradigm shift towards a new approach to improving sustainable access to healthcare in Africa, while stimulating socioeconomic development.