The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on Wednesday lamented that even with the availability of funds and facilities, Nigeria could not produce vaccines due to the non-passage of the Pharmacy Bill into law.
Announcing this at a press conference on the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Lagos, the President of the Society, Pharm Sam Ohuabunwa, said without the passage of the Pharmacy Bill, the World Health Organisation cannot approve Nigeria’s production of vaccines and medicines which could be exported to other parts of the world.
Ohuabunwa said: “Beyond the fact that we do not have the facility to produce, even if we put out all the facility to produce the vaccines, without the Pharmacy Bill being passed, the WHO will not grant us the authority to produce the vaccines.
“It is like a tweak to the production of vaccines in the country.
“It has happened before, maybe before the WHO put out some exigencies in their protocols to make sure that every vaccine production process and safety proof is intact.
“As at today, Nigeria cannot produce vaccines without passing the Pharmacy Bill which is gathering dust at the National Assembly.
“So, if the media doesn’t want another pandemic to catch you unawares and start propounding theories of who wants to depopulate Africa, then please ask the government where the Pharmacy Bill is.
“If the Pharmacy Bill is passed into law today, I can bet you that we would give the government a proposal that will make Nigeria produce vaccines in less than 15 months.
“We have the science and technological know-how as well as the industrial know-how.
“So, that is the challenge, the issue of infrastructure and poor funding is secondary. So let the Pharmacy Bill be passed.”
When passed into law, the Pharmacy Bill would improve all aspects of the profession and help develop the country’s capacity to produce World Health Organisation (WHO)-certified facilities, medicines, and vaccines, especially for COVID-19, he said.
The PSN boss further called for caution in the use of Ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19.
Ohuabunwa, who dismissed various conspiracy theories against the vaccines, urged Nigerians to accept the vaccines when they become available.
However, he said that given the scientific evidence available at their disposal as well as professional competences in the science and technology of vaccine formulation protocol, that COVID-19 vaccines were safe for Nigerians.
“With our avowed responsibility to diligently nest medication safety of Nigerians, we make bold to say that the vaccines are safe and should be accepted when they become available to us.
“Vaccination has remained a veritable tool for disease prevention, control and possible elimination.”
Represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Pharm. Ijeoma Okey-Ewurum, he pointed out that vaccination should be seen as public health good and should be delivered to all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.