By Hassan Zaggi
The Chairman, Governing Board of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. John Alfa, has advocated for what he described as a better structured government funding of NIPRD’s Research and Development (R&D).
He made the call during a webina conference organized by the Director General of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, on Wednesday.
Dr. Alfa lamented that lack of funding for research activities in NIPRD has been the major set back of the institute since its creation over 30 years ago.
“Since inception, the government has mainly been responsible for funding NIPRD through the instrumentality of yearly appropriation of the parliament.
“A major constrain is the envelope phenomena of the supervising ministry that whatever your proposed internal budget may be, it would be cut to size by the envelope concept (you receive a fixed amount).
“There is the need for better structured government funding of NIPRD R&D.
“Structures are dilapidated, equipment are lacking or non-functional due to lack of maintenance, inadequate fund for procurement of chemicals, reagents and other consumables. Others include inadequate manpower development or capacity building, etc,” he explained.
While pointing out the areas that the Institute has not perform optimally due to poor funding over the years, the Board Chairman said they include: “Poor performance in drug discovery (synthetic or phytopharmaceuticals) API and excipient development, poor intervention in pandemics, low turnout of phytomedicines. Not much has been done in drug distribution, and public health risk analysis.”
He further stressed that: “he institute has hitherto faced great and dangerous infrastructural deficit as well as gross funding inadequacy for R&D.
“There is lack of advanced biosafety laboratory such as P3 nor P4 level laboratory, poor power supply which frustrates experimental or research works.”
Earlier, the Chairman, PMG-MAN Dr. Fidelis Ayebae, while commending the NIPRD Director General for hosting the event for the second time consistently, said: “Available evidence suggest that local production of medicines can help sustain access to high quality pharmaceutical products, improve the health of the citizenry and at the same time prevent the shortage of supply of medicines during critical period.
“The pharmaceutical sector still remains largely untapped and continues to suffer neglect.
“The ever-increasing demand for medicines and other pharmaceutical products will continue to remain an advantage to domestic producers as well as an opportunity for growth and development in the pharmaceutical industrial sector.
“NIPRD if adequately funded can develop strategies that Nigeria Pharma can leverage upon to improve the sector.”
Speaking earlier, the Director General of NIPRD, Dr. Obi Adigwe, highlighting the Institute’s achievements in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic including the internationally acclaimed analysis that underpinned Government’s categorical position on the Madagascar Covid Organics preparation.
Adigwe further shared other projects being developed in the institute, including the Contextual Processing Protocol (CPP) that is being put together for all geopolitical regions in the Country.
The CPP, according to him, involves identifying natural resources and getting them processed to the highest international standards, using local people, particularly the women and youths.