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FG to regulate prices of medicine and make essential drugs more affordable for citizens

The federal government says it will soon issue an executive order to slash the cost of pharmaceutical prices and make essential medicines more affordable for citizens.

Coordinating Minister of Health, Ali Pate, made this known while addressing state House correspondents on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.

He stated that rising drug costs have put life saving medications beyond the reach for many Nigerians.

According to him, the executive order aims to enable local drug manufacturers to thrive, while ensuring fair pricing of essential medicines.

He said this follows the exit of major multinational pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, reducing competition.

He said: “Consistent with the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda, which puts the human capital, health and social welfare of Nigerians at the centre, today at the Federal Executive Council, Mr. President took three far-reaching decisions relating to the health sector.

“The first is on the rising cost of pharmaceuticals, the hike in prices that we have in the pharmaceutical, which is going beyond the reach of many Nigerians, life-saving commodities, devices like syringes and needles and the exit of major companies from our market.

“Those decisions also include the regulation of the sector to protect the health and well-being of humans and the third decision is regarding how we deal with the crisis of human resources in the health sector.

“The first on the syringes, drugs, pharmaceuticals and other devices, as you’ll recall, Mr President, in his wisdom, at the end of last year, in October, approved an initiative to unlock the healthcare value-chain and appointed a coordinator for that. But we know that the price of pharmaceuticals have escalated and many entities have decided to withdraw and some of the local manufacturers in Nigeria are struggling.

“The President’s intent is that we begin to take steps to enable the local manufacturers to survive, to thrive and to deliver the basic commodities that are key to saving their lives.

“And he directed that the Attorney General of the Federation work with us to come up with an executive order, which is the mechanism through which he will act, given the concern that he has that many Nigerians are suffering from the costs of pharmaceuticals, as well as other devices. That is the first important step and that should be coming very soon.”

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