NIGERIA is facing the prospect of a severe drugs shortage as a result of the coronavirus outbreak as it has all but suspended all trading links with China where local pharmacies buy most of their medicines from.
Following the outbreak of the virus in China most countries have suspended travel links with the country to contain the spread, hurting global commerce substantially. In China itself too, many factories and industries have had to suspend operations as several cities have been quarantined, which has adversely affected the production of goods and services.
According to Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (Nafdac), this could hit the pharmaceutical industry hard. Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the head of Nafdac, said India which Nigeria depends on for a greater percentage of its drug imports, has already been hit by the ravaging effects of the virus.
India buys most of its materials and active ingredients from China while Nigeria imports 70% of its medicines as well as active and non-active ingredients from India. Professor Adeyeye added that Nigeria should be worried about the development as we do not manufacture anything here except water.
She said: “70% of our drugs are imported and the alarm I am sounding now is one everybody should take seriously as we have drug insecurity because of coronavirus. India is already feeling it because they buy most of their materials and active ingredients from China.
“If India is feeling it, we should start praying because we don’t manufacture anything here except water as we import almost everything. This includes active and non-active ingredients and equipment.”
Minister of state for health, Dr Olorunibe Mamora, also said the Nigerian government would not hesitate to evacuate Nigerians in China, especially in Wahun if the need arose. He added that the Chinese government is testing everyone that is trying to leave China to ensure that they do not go and spread the virus.