FG mulls policy to patronise indigenous companies for syringe, needles

• As DG NAFDAC defends importation

Following the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Health, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has assured local manufacturers of syringes and needles of adequate patronage by his Ministry.

Dr Ehanire told the Senate Committee on Health and that of Industry Trade and Investment that once he secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council in the next few weeks, all Federal Government-owned health institutions would be mandated to use syringes and needles manufactured in the country.

The Health Minister gave the assurance, on Thursday, while speaking at a public hearing jointly organised by the Senate Committee on Health and its counterpart with oversight function on Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

The umbrella body of local producers of syringes and needles, Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria had petitioned the Committees over patronage of foreign producers at the expense of local. manufacturers.

Dr Ehanire assured the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, that he would use his good offices to push for FEC approval of the policy.

He said: “We have listened to the position of the committee and we want to assure the Chairman and other distinguished members that we will come up with the policy and get approval from the Federal Executive Council within six weeks as suggested by the Committee.

“We are in support of the move to encourage local manufacturing of syringes and needles because it is the best way to create jobs and take Nigerians out of poverty.

“We are all interested in developing local capacities to encourage local manufacturers is an item on the agenda of the President to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.”

Senator Oloriegbe pleaded with Dr Ehanire and his counterpart in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, to ensure enabling climate for the local manufacturers to survive by pushing for their patronage.

He said: “We want you (Health Minister), to come up with a policy that will make it mandatory for all federal health institutions, the FMCs and teaching hospitals to use locally manufactured syringes and needles.

“That is the best way to encourage local manufacturers.

“It will be in our recommendations as a committee that all federally owned hospitals, without exception must procure and use only locally manufactured syringes and needles from companies that are registered and approved by NAFDAC to produce them in Nigeria.

“We will also demand that locally manufactured syringes and vaccines should be used to administer all vaccines procured by the government.”

The Director-General of the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control. Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, who told the Committee that the local manufacturers lacked the capacity to meet the demands was countered by President, Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Akin Oyediran, who accused Professor Adeyeye of flaunting old data.

He said:” We have the capacity to produce the required syringes and needles that we need in the country.

“One of the manufacturers in Nigeria, the Jubilee Syringe, which I am the Managing Director, is the largest manufacturers of Syringes in Africa.

“We have just been approached by other countries in Africa to please export our syringes to them. There is no doubt about having the capacity. I think NAFDAC is speaking based on old data because our company is now about three years old. We produce over 1.7 million syringes per day, six days a week.

“We welcome the move by the Senate asking the minister of health to come up with a policy that would give exclusive rights to the local manufacturers of syringes to produce the products for all federally funded health institutions in Nigeria.

“The local manufacturers are actually the highest suppliers of syringes and needles for hospitals. There is no point why government hospitals should use imported syringes when we have the locally manufactured ones.”

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FG mulls policy to patronise indigenous companies for syringe, needles

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