The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu has called for a synergy and closer working relationship between the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) so that new pharmaceutical firms can be established.
He added, that the synergy will aid the growth of Nigeria to become one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world in the years to come.
Onu made the call on Friday in Abuja at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) Webinar Conference, themed; “Improving Access to COVID-19 Vaccines and other Interventions: Intellectual Property, Patent Waivers and other Critical Factors”.
Onu, however, praised the role of NIPRD in achieving her set mandates in the areas of leading pharmaceutical research in the country.
“NIPRD has worked very hard in promoting research on drugs and biological products from indigenous natural resources.
“Also, through appropriate science and technology NIPRD has continued to assist the nation in meeting her pharmaceutical needs,” he said.
He said that Nigeria is home to very rare herbs and plants, adding that if efficiently exploited can help find the cure of many diseases that are ravaging the world.
On the socio-economic benefits of carrying out indigenous pharmaceutical research, the minister said: “It is therefore important that we go into our forests, harvest herbs, plants and conduct research and development to find cures for such diseases.
“In doing this, we will be creating jobs as well as wealth for our citizens, reduce poverty, strengthen our currency and help our nation become more self-reliant”.
He further stressed the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to national growth and prosperity, adding that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has led to the growth of vaccine nationalism, whereby many of the developed countries have vaccinated 60% or more of their citizens, while many of the developing countries are yet to vaccinate even up to 2% of their citizens.
He expressed confidence that with a dedicated level of hard work, commitment and determination Nigeria will soon produce all the drugs, medicines and medical supplies it needs