The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has called for synergy and closer working relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the organised private sector (OPS).
He made the call during a webinar with the theme – ‘Improving access to COVID-19 vaccines and other interventions: intellectual property, patent waivers and other critical factors’ organised by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), saying the synergy will aid the growth of Nigeria and push it into having some of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world in the years to come.
He praised the role of NIPRD in achieving its 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 pointed out thatNigeria is home to very rare herbs and plants, and if efficiently exploited could help find the cure of many diseases that are ravaging the world.
Speaking on the socio-economic benefits of carrying out indigenous pharmaceutical research, Onu said it was important that “we go into our forests, harvest herbs and 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, pointing out that the recent Covid-19 pandemic had led to the growth of vaccine nationalism, whereby many of the developed countries have vaccinated 60 per cent or more of their citizens, while many of the developing countries are yet to vaccinate even up to 2 per cent of their citizens.
He expressed confidence that with dedicated level of hard work, commitment and determination Nigeria would in the near future produce all the drugs, medicines and medical supplies it would need.