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Most imported drugs not working for Nigerians —Ogun Monarch

Segun Ayinde, Abeokuta

A leader in the fields of pharmaceutical technology, research and training and the Olu of Orile-Ilawo, Ogun State, Oba Olusegun MacGregor, has called on the Federal Government to engage brains in the pharmaceutical industry to embark on indigenous research and create drugs suitable for Nigerians’ genetics to cure their ailments

He lamented that most of the imported drugs from foreign countries were not working for Nigerians because of their pharmacogenetics reactions to the drugs.

Oba MacGregor disclosed this on Wednesday at the 2024 Pharmaceutical Society Of Nigeria (PSN) Ogun State branch, where Pharm. Adesina Opanubi spoke on the theme” Capacity Building and Professional Development: Strengthening the Pharmacy Workforce For Universal Health Coverage In Nigeria”.

The monarch, who served as the president and Dean of Faculty of the Toronto institute of pharmaceutical technology TIPT since 1992, urged FG to take urgent steps in engaging manufacturing pharmacists in the country to do indigenous clinical research and develop drugs that are not anti-genetics to Nigerians healthcare system.

He said with over 200 million Nigerians, the nation was not short of brains that could do research and manufacture drugs in the country, expressing regrets that out of 100 drugs imported to Nigeria only 40% were actually working for their health care system because the drugs were not made by Nigerians.

The Oba admonished FG to have faith in medical personnel especially manufacturing pharmacists in the country that they could produce drugs capable of curing Nigerians ailments, saying that countries such as China and Korea had passed through the importation of drugs process before they looked inwards and started to produce their own drugs.

He said, “What Nigeria is going through on the importation of drugs has already happened before in other nations. Believe it or not, it happened in China … when they used to import drugs, it happened in other countries as well as Korea. What they did was that they looked inwards and started to develop local capacity.

“What Nigeria should do is to switch the mentality of depending on what other people have cooked or made and start doing your own indigenous research. When I say indigenous research, you can take what has existed elsewhere, modify with Nigeria content and then create a product suitable for Nigerians.

“We have about 240 million people in Nigeria and I can tell you most of the drugs we import into Nigeria do not work for Nigerians because they were developed in other countries. There is something called pharmacogenetics that means the genetic predispositions are changing the ways drugs are done, the way drugs interact on the target sides.

“So you might find out that if you import 100 of drugs only 40% is actually working but if you do your indigenous research you will figure out which one will work in Nigeria and you will focus on those ones and you can develop the ones that can actually work for Nigeria. Do your clinical research for Nigeria. We have the brains, we are not short of brains, we are just short of effort and believe in ourselves. So my advice for Nigeria is to believe in Nigerians and our God given capacity.”

Earlier, the Chairman of PSN, Pharm. Adewale Adenugba, said that it was imperative for members to fulfill this role effectively on continuous learning and adaptation to new advancements in medicine and healthcare practices because they play a major role in the patients health care delivery system.

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