Nigeria Plans To Pass Law Allowing Local Companies To Produce HIV/AIDS, Malaria Drugs
Nigeria is close to passing a law that would allow local pharmaceutical companies to manufacture more drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and malaria, Ahmed Abdulkadir, special adviser to the Nigerian president, said this week, Reuters South Africa reports. There are 14 companies that make antiretroviral drugs and eight companies that make artemisinin-based combination therapies in Nigeria, but they are not producing enough drugs to combat the diseases, according to Reuters South Africa. The country needs 109 million doses of ACTs annually to treat malaria, but local companies only meet 30% of the demand, and the rest is covered by treatments imported from China, Reuters South Africa reports. The new law aims to remove barriers to rapid production of the drugs, Abdulkadir said. He added that the legislation process is in the final stages and that the law will be sent to the National Assembly. Abdulkadir also said that Nigerian companies are preparing to boost drug production once the law is passed. "We are trying to get more machinery to produce more," he said, adding, "We don't want to be an importing nation. We want to be producing en masse and also supplying West and Central Africa." In addition, a program to grow Artemisia annua, the plant from which ACTs are derived, in Nigeria is being developed, according to Abdulkadir. Experts from China, where the plant primarily is grown, are advising Nigeria on how to cultivate the plant (Ee Lyn, Reuters South Africa, 1/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.