In a bid to address the concerns occasioned by the significant increase in the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammed Pate, announced that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would be signing an executive order with the Afrexim Bank to battle the hike in drug prices.

Prof. Pate made this announcement on Wednesday, February 28, at the Ministerial Press Briefing Series with the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Mohammed Idris, in Abuja.

Pate highlighted that the executive order which is expected to be signed by the Federal government will; “Significantly reduce the cost of drugs and pharmaceutical products in the country.

“The rising cost of pharmaceuticals is a pressing concern, and we are taking decisive action to address this issue.

“An executive order will soon be issued to curb escalating drug prices in the short term, while our mid- to long-term goal involves the domestication of imported drugs within the next three years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade.”

The minister also informed that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has secured a $1bn pledge from the African Export-Import Bank to improve medical industrialization in the nation.

“I’m pleased to announce that the ministry has secured a $1bn pledge from Afreximbank, alongside commitments from foreign partners, to support our endeavours in this regard,” he said.

Additionally, the Minster mentioned that the Federal Government has also interjected N50bn into the improvement and expansion of Primary Health care centers in the country.
He said the fund, which was secured in the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, would be used to expand the health care centers nationwide.

The minister also added that apart from the executive order, the Federal Government is working towards reforming and strengthening the pharmaceutical infrastructure across the country with a plan to construct pharmaceutical-grade warehouses in 21 states in the country.

This project which commenced in October 2023, is expected to be completed in March 2024 and also be inaugurated the same year in April.

Speaking on the migration of Nigerian health workers to other countries, the minister mentioned that the migration should not be conceived only in the negative aspect.

He added that the high demand for Nigerian medical personnel abroad was an indication that the competitiveness steaming from quality training signifies our uniqueness.

Pate then mentioned that despite that, the government is willing to retain its health workers and make vast input in the growth of the sector.

“Our commitment to enhancing tertiary healthcare services remains steadfast.

“12 tertiary hospitals/centres have been earmarked for infrastructure development, including the establishment of oncology centres, radiology centres, and diagnostics facilities.

“These investments will enhance our capacity to provide specialised care and meet the evolving healthcare needs of our people,” Pate said.

The minister also disclosed that there would be an increase in admitting students into medical schools as well.

“In collaboration with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, we have taken proactive steps to address the shortage of healthcare professionals. By increasing the number of medical students admitted to medical schools, we are boosting the healthcare workforce and laying the groundwork for a healthier future,” he stressed