Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market: A gigantic ground of opportunities

  • April 19, 2017

Health is a crucially important social and economic asset, a cornerstone for human development. Being healthy is a foundation for economic development and essential to a good quality of life. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.” Fulfilling the right to health is not only about ensuring the absence of illness, infirmity and disability, but it also means enabling social wellbeing. Pharmaceutical products play an important role in healthcare. In addition to well-trained and motivated health professionals, medicines are among the most effective ways to prevent, alleviate and cure disease.

The majority of illnesses affecting people living in poverty can be treated using the medicines listed on the World Health Organization (WHO) Essential Medicines List. The main responsibility for ensuring public health lies with local governments and national institutions. Governments have the duty to respect, protect and fulfill the right to health progressively, within their means. They should do their best to ensure availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health services including reforming current healthcare systems to positively impact the health of the poor.

Rewarding destination

The pharmaceutical market is forecasted to grow more than double to US$1.3 trillion by 2020. The growth markets include, in descending order of size, China, Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey, Poland, Venezuela, Argentina, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand, Romania, Egypt, Ukraine, Pakistan and Vietnam, United States, Canada. Is this time for investors to invest in African pharmaceutical industry? The answer is ‘Yes’. Africa’s investment potential is about more than just resources, as it evolves and climbs the consumption, urbanization and industrialization curves that the BRICs have climbed.

Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical sector

According to the facts, pharmaceutical imports reached a value of $481million in 2013 and are projected to gain 10.4% to reach $789 million by 2018. This will widen the country’s pharmaceutical trade deficit from 475 million in 2013 to $778 million in 2018. West African pharma market’s biggest show ‘Nigeria Pharma Manufacturers Expo 2017 is expected to display more than 220 Exhibitors from 11 countries and more than 4,000 products and services on pharma manufacturing technologies for Central and West African pharma markets. Growth factor: Malaria is responsible for 60% of all outpatient attendance, 30 per cent of all hospital admissions and 300,000 deaths annually. Artemisinin Combination Therapy (ACT) is the first line treatment in accordance with the national malaria treatment guidelines. The cumulative prevalence rate for malaria infection in most parts of the country is 100% in any 10 month period. It is estimated that at least 10% of all childhood deaths are caused directly due to malaria and up to 25% indirectly. More and more number of pharmaceutical manufacturers are producing medicines to treat malaria. This trend is booming up the domestic medicine manufacturers as well. Diarrheal disease is a very common cause of deaths, mostly in third world countries, while it is the second most common cause of deaths in children below 1 year old worldwide. According to the WHO data, deaths caused by diarrheal disease in Nigeria reached 10.19% of the total deaths. This data ranks Nigeria as the 19th country in the world.

Global tie-ups

In Nigeria, Foreign manufacturers are represented by local agents. There should be a duly registered work premises and applications must be accompanied by the proof of Power of Attorney to the local representative. More and more number pharmacists are collaborating with local manufacturers to expand their roots in the Nigeria pharmaceutical market. Setting up a collaboration may not provide them with restriction free access to the market and authorities, however, it has its own advantages. Collaborating with local manufacturers and representatives not only provide a whole platter of information about latest market trends and conditions, but it also provides a sense of security. Having the access to the knowledge about local market and trends is a significant asset. It not only plays an important role in developing business strategies, but also aids in sustaining the growth. Olawale, a representative of the pharmaceutical company of Thailand in Nigeria says “African continent is full of uncertainties. Risk of flunking of business model is a very commonly witnessed thing here. In order to avoid such risks, global investors and manufactures are looking forward to form collaborations with local African manufacturers and representatives. Doing this provides them with ready-made market study, research and development. If you have full-fledged knowledge about the prevailing market, 40% of the work is already done.”

Olawale’s perspective about the collaborations is logical enough to advocate more such tie-ups. Forming collaborations with local manufacturers, investors and representatives provide significant support to the backbone of your business. It also gives the access to the marketing team, logistics chain as well as the supply chains. In short, it provides you with all those ingredients which are necessary to satisfy the taste buds of your business. It is a well-known phrase that “Where there is population there is a growth”. This phrase is correct to a large extent in case of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market. It has a huge appetite and is projected to grow at a strong rate. With commonly prevailing diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis (TB), pneumonia, etc, investing in the pharmaceutical industry might be an expensive affair, but forming up collaborations with the local manufactures and establishing joint ventures with other global pharmacists to invest in Nigeria would surely be a fruitful decision.

Several number of major pharmaceutical companies have already made their way in the Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market. The other global pharmacists are also seeking to find a crack to enter this big and rewarding market. It not only includes the scope doesn’t gets restricted to manufacturing, but there are endless opportunities in setting up the pharmacy chains as well. Nigeria is already affected by some of the deadliest diseases. The unavailability of quality and affordable medicines makes it worse. Many of the deaths could be prevented by ensuring the proper and easy availability of quality medicines at affordable rates. By investing in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical market, investors and corporates would not only make huge pecuniary profits, but would also be able to provide much needed support to the people of Nigeria on the humanitarian ground.

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