NIPRD, APTF Partner to Address Technology Gaps in Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical Sector 

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National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), in partnership with the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation (APTF) is convening a High-Level Meeting to address the technological gaps in Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical and vaccine sectors. 

The meeting is in line with the Presidential Initiative to unlock the Health Sector Value Chain. Scheduled for March 18 in Abuja, the meeting is targeted at identifying and addressing sector-wide contextual technology gaps in pharma, vaccines and related industries. 

A statement by the organisers say the one -day High Level Dialogue will be followed by a technical session on 19 March 2024 to strengthen public health-oriented patent guidelines and intellectual property (IP) policies with the overall goal of achieving sustainable local manufacturing of medicines and vaccines in Nigeria. 

The events which will be hosted by Minister of State, Dr Tunji Alausa, has received confirmation of attendance by delegations from several countries including Rwanda and Cote D’Ivoire. Notable amongst confirmed delegates are, Chief Executive of the APTF, Professor Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation at the African Development Bank, Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, The Nigerian Team will be led by the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Peter Adigwe.

 Other dignitaries and guest speakers expected to participate at the event include the Senate Committee Chair for Health, Senator Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, Dr Yanko Yordanov, the Ambassador of Bulgaria to Nigeria, and Professors Agwale, Babalola and Correa of Innovative Biotech, Chrisland University and South Centre respectively. 

The statement said the meeting will discuss critical themes including best ways to measure technology gaps in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical and vaccine sectors, policy options to address private sector development, strengthening public sector engagement, and the exploration of existing IP laws and policies; patent and related capacities for assessment of health technologies; and a review of the implementation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) flexibilities at the national level for Nigeria. 

“The event will promote discussions and deliberations amongst key stakeholders in the process, from private sector companies, to ministries, to key public sector institutes and national agencies also include capacity building activities for all stakeholders while exploring peer review, country exchange initiatives and collaboration growth opportunities,” it said, adding, “This event will set the stage for a longer program on technology needs assessment to build Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector, for which the APTF will partner with NIPRD and the Federal Ministry of Health, Government of Nigeria.” 

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) is a Government Agency under the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The Institute was established with the primary objective of enhancing the development and commercialization of health products such as phytomedicines, pharmaceutical inputs, drugs and biological products including vaccines, from Nigeria’s indigenous natural resources. In achieving these objectives, a significant number of relevant international accreditations and certifications have been attained by the Institute, including the ISO 9001:2015 and the ISO 17025:2017. NIPRD is also statutorily mandated to engage in activities relating to capacity building, policy making, data collation, drug distribution and in the development of contextual partnerships that can expedite access to healthcare.

On its part, the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is an independent regional agency established in Kigali, Rwanda, by the African Development Bank. The Foundation builds on the key lessons derived from the Covid-19 pandemic, both on Africa’s untenable dependency on pharmaceutical imports, and the need to promote greater preparedness and resilience to future health threats for the region. It equally responds to the calls made by African Leaders and policy makers requesting the African Development Bank to lead the establishment of such an initiative. 

The Foundation is the first of its kind in Africa, aiming to systematically address barriers to technology access in the African public and private sectors, including through licensing of proprietary technologies, know-how, and processes. The Foundation’s core objectives are to support African pharmaceutical companies to build technological capacity, to diversify their product baskets, enhance access to technological know-how of manufacturing products and processes; and strengthen the capacity of local R&D ecosystems including through skills building to support the creation of new knowledge in the domestic pharmaceutical sector. The Foundation also co-finances investments into companies and regional infrastructure. The APTF prioritizes technologies, products and processes focused primarily on diseases that are widely prevalent in Africa, and those relevant for the health and wellbeing of African people. 

 

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