In order to boost medical research in Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has charge Nigeria’s pioneer pharmaceutical company-May &Baker to establish a laboratory in the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD).
He gave the charge during the signing of a licencing agreement for the commercialization of a sickle cell drug- NIPRISAN, between May & Baker, NIPRD and the Federal Ministry of Health, in Abuja.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council in April this year gave approval to NIPRD and May and Baker Plc to scale up the commercialisation and marketing of NIPRISAN, an anti-sickle cell drug for the management of sickle cell patients.
FEC gave the licensing agreement to NIPRD and May and Baker Plc to produce the drugs on a commercial scale in a bid to reduce the spread of the disease in Africa and other parts of the world where it is common.
Speaking during the signing of the licencing agreement, Prof. Adewole, reiterated that NIPRISAN is a drug many Nigerian sickle cell patients have been waiting for.
“My charge to May & Baker is that they should set up M&B laboratory at NIPRD.
“We have set up a department for traditional medicine, the first time in the history of Nigeria in appreciation of what we can get from our forest and we charged NIPRD to go and get cure for many of our ailments including malaria, yellow fever and many others.
“NIPRISAN is one of them and is the beginning of many to come. I cant wait, I want to, in the next couple of days to begin to see this drug on shelve.
“Let us alleviate the sufferings of our people. Millions of people will benefit from NIPRSAN.
“We habour the largest number of people with the gene and so this is where this drug must start before we can export it to other people,” the Minister said.
Responding to questions from journalists, the Managing Director /CEO of May & Baker, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, assured that even though the price has not been fixed, the drug will be affordable to all Nigerians who need them.
“However, we want to assure that all Nigerians will be able to afford this medicine if not, there is no point, really, going into it. “We are yet to develop and commercialise the product, so it is too soon to work out the issue of costing, but our objective is to ensure that Nigerians who suffer from this disease get this drug.”