Remove Import Duty On Malaria Drugs, Experts Urge FG

Duty

Experts Urges FG To Remove Import Duty On Malaria Drugs

Some experts have urged the Federal Government to remove the import duty  placed on the importation of malaria drugs in Nigeria, saying this was a critical factor  militating against effective  treatment of malaria.

The experts,  who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan, also called for   the removal of the 20 per cent import duty  on malaria drugs.

Mr Taofeek Oladipupo, a Community Pharmacist and Chief Executive Officer of Vanguard Pharmacy in  Ibadan, said  ordinary Nigerians could not treat the ailment because of the high cost  of drugs. Also Read; No Cause For Alarm Over President Buhari’s Health – Presidency

“The Federal Government and our law makers should look into this issue if truly, the health care of the masses is priority for them.

“Most of them  presented  mouth watering policies concerning  free primary health care or partially free health care  during the political  campaigns.

“One wonders then why import duties of 20 per cent should be placed on malaria drugs only, not to talk of many other drugs, ‘’ he said.

Dr Laja Odunuga, Medical Director at GlaxoSmithKlime(GSK), said  malaria could not be effectively treated if patients could not access the drugs.

“If there is zero import duty on malaria drugs, any patient could access the drugs prescribed and this in turn will help the Roll Back Malaria programme in Nigeria.

“After removal of import duties, the Federal Government should subsidise the drugs and diagnostic tests,” he said.

Dr Femi Olowookere, a Consultant Family Physician at the University College Hospital  (UCH), Ibadan,  said government should make the standard drug for malaria treatment free at the community and state levels.

“The standard recommended treatment by the World Health Organisation is the Artemisilin Combination Therapy (ACT).

“Fake drug manufacturers  or importers should be tracked and whistle blowers should be encouraged  to tackle  counterfeit drug importation and labelling.

“Health care givers  at the grassroots, community leaders and religious leaders should be educated on how to detect fake or counterfeit drugs and labelling,’’  he said.

Prof. Catherine Falade, a Malariologist and Consultant Pharmacologist at  UCH,  said that malaria could not be effectively treated if patients could not access the genuine drugs.

Falade, who  said that this was a  major challenge, urged  government   to do the needful  through   policy intervention.

“Access to the  right medicine will go a long way in assisting to  stem the malaria scourge and drug manufacturers should also stick to the WHO recommended manufacturers standard.

“A pharmaceutical error can wipe out a generation of people, so there is need for government to sanction producers of counterfeit malaria drugs.

“More researches should be encouraged for non-communicable disease like malaria while  rational and acceptable use of recommended  drug should be encouraged,” she said. (NAN)

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