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Pharmacists seek govt’s commitment in local production of raw materials

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The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy says the country must commit to producing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for drug manufacturing instead of relying on importing same raw materials.

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, President of the Academy, said this during the academy’s investiture of new fellows in Lagos.

Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that for a country with the abundant hydrocarbon resources that Nigeria boasts of, it shouldn’t rely on importing the same as raw materials.

He said that pharmacists need to enlighten the political leaders including current presidential candidates on this issue and interrogate them on their plans for utilising Nigeria’s oil and gas deposits.

“The political leaders need 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.

“It is in the light of the value which a functional petrochemical industry will translate to for Nigeria, that the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy has continued to look forward to the commencement of the Dangote Refinery and its associated petrochemical plant with elation,” he said.

Adelusi-Adeluyi said that the academy had been informed by the Dangote Refinery that the initial focus of its petrochemical plant would be polypropylene.

“This is commendable and will be a big plus for Nigeria’s industrialisation,” he said.

He disclosed that the academy would engage Dangote Refinery on the possibility of including the production of aromatic hydrocarbons in the second phase.

“Aromatic hydrocarbons will be of critical value to the pharmaceutical industry and our quest to produce API,” he said.

He acknowledged the progress that the world is continuously making in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that it was imperative for pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and medical professionals in the field of research and development in developing countries such as Nigeria, to increasingly tap into these industrial revolution.

“AI is helping to make pharmaceutical research and new drug discovery less expensive and definitely more productive.

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

“With Al, therefore, we create better, safer and more affordable medicines, within a much shorter time frame too,” he said.

He acknowledged that some pharmacists are already adopting AI to solve real world health challenges, adding that AI penetration should deepen among pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.

Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that as witnessed in the financial and fintech space, the potential of AI in pharmaceutical space would translate to pain relief from disease, economic growth and development.

He said that the government has a crucial role to play while calling on the government to create the right environment that makes meaningful research possible.

Also, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), said pharmacists are relevant and critical to medicine security and national development.

Usifoh said that the PSN had championed several bills at the National Assembly aimedat repositioning the pharmaceutical industry.

Revealed  that 20 pharmacists were inducted as fellows of the Academy among which are Pharm. Olayinka Subair, Senator Sadiq Umar and Mrs Christianah Akpa, among others.

Senator Sadiq Umar, who spoke on behalf of the inductees appreciated the academy for the honour conferred on them.

Umar, however, urged the academy to continue in its strides to ensure patient safety and reposition pharmacists in the country. (NAN)

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