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Pharmacists enraged after NAFDAC increased drug registration from N1m to N4million

Drug prices in Nigeria may increase by as much as 100 percent in just a matter of weeks. This is because of the recent hike in the price of drug registration by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

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Pharmacists enraged after NAFDAC increased drug registration from N1m to N4million

Drug prices in Nigeria may increase by as much as 100 percent in just a matter of weeks. This is because of the recent hike in the price of drug registration by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Note that the food and drug regulatory agency recently increased the cost of registering new prescription drugs from N350,000 to N1.05 million.

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The impending price increase was disclosed on Thursday by the Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (Lagos Chapter), Mrs. Bolanle Adeniran, who spoke at an event organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

According to Mrs. Adediran, unless NAFDAC recants its decision to increase its drug registration levy by as much as  350 percent, the prices of drugs across the country will increase by 100 percent by two months time. She described NAFDAC’s fee hike as “damaging”.

NAFDAC made the most damaging move in the last couple of weeks by increasing drug and product registration levy by a whopping 350 percent. Specifically, from N350,000, it now costs N1.05m to register a prescription-only medicine, while over-the-counter drugs have moved from a hitherto expensive N1m to N4m in Nigeria.

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“If this draconian policy is not reversed or immediately remedied, the PSN, Lagos State Branch, wishes to warn through this forum that Nigeria will experience at least a 100 per cent increase in drug prices in about six months, with grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of health in our nation.”

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In the meantime, the Lagos PSN boss called on NAFDAC to find a way to fast-track the registration process for new drugs. The process currently takes two years, a situation Mrs. Adediran said is too long.

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What does this mean? A 100 percent increase in the prices of prescription drugs could automatically make them unaffordable by quite a number of Nigerians, many of whom live on the edge of the poverty line. HMO’s who cater to the medical needs of employees should also be worried as this could impact on their premiums.

This could never augur well for either the patients, the drug manufacturers, or the economy at large. This is because when the prices of drugs go up, the people who need them cannot buy them. And when drugs cannot be purchased due to their exorbitant prices, the pharmaceutical industry will not contribute adequately to national GDP.

Also, note that a hundred percent hike in the prices of drugs could encourage the sale of fake and substandard drugs in the country. When the prices of goods increase as a result of the increased levy for registration, dealers in fake products tend to sell more because their products will be cheaper and more affordable for Nigerians.

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READ MORE: With “trading stories”, AFEX introduces the market to its education platform

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Coronavirus

FG announces schedule for 4th evacuation flight from the USA 

The evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14.

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The Federal government has approved the fourth evacuation flight for Nigerians stranded in the United States of America for July 28.  

According to a statement that was signed by the Consulate General of Nigeria, the Ethiopian Airline with flight number ET509 will depart Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey on Tuesday 28 July 2020 by 21:15hrs and arrive Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday 29 July 2020 by 13:25hrs. 

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“All prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in the USA should purchase their one-way tickets at a cost of $1250 for economy class and $2800 for business class for adult/child fare including all taxes with the usual percentage reduction for infants under 2 years,” the statement read. 

READ ALSO: FG acquires profiling robots for airport

In line with the earlier announced protocols from the Nigerian Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the evacuees will be expected to present an original COVID-19 negative test result not older than 14 days on the day of departure at the airport. 

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There will also be a temperature check at the airport, and any intending evacuee with a body temperature above 38°c or any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 will not be allowed to check-in. 

Evacuees are also required to wear a face mask as a matter of necessity and be in possession of hand sanitizer for intermittent use during the flight, while also adhering to the instructions of the  

Furthermore, all returnees are enjoined to adhere strictly to all instructions of Port Health Services (PHS) officials and observe other entry screening protocols on arrival. 

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Hospitality & Travel

Covid-19: British High Commission to resume visa application in Nigeria

Nigerians who want to visit the UK can do so as soon as international flight operations resume.

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Covid-19: British High Commission to Resume Visa Application in Nigeria

The British High Commission in Nigeria has announced plans to resume visa processing in the country. It revealed that it will soon begin receiving visa applications from Nigerians who want to travel to the United Kingdom (UK).

This was disclosed in a public statement by the British High Commission in Abuja on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

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It said that Nigerians who want to visit the United Kingdom can do so as soon as the international flight operations resume in the country. The statement said:

“We know there are many Nigerian nationals hoping to be able to travel to the UK when flights resume, both for employment and to see family members.

“UKVI are working closely with TSL contact, our commercial partner, to reopen visa application centres that were suspended due to COVID-19. UK visa application centres are reopening in phased manner globally when it is safe to do so and when we can operate an effective service.

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“TSL contact are putting appropriate measures in place and working hard to reopen in Nigeria. We will share details of when VACs will reopen soon,”

READ MORE: US to stop issuing visa for Birth Tourism 

It can be recalled that the Federal Government had shut down the airports to both domestic and international flight operations in March as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

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Following the gradual resumption of domestic flight operations, Nigerians are expecting that international flight operations might be resuming soon.

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Commodities

Nigeria’s excess crude account falls to $72 million

Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.

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Capital market to get more tax incentives - FG , FEC reviews Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas project contract, approves $2.571 billion, FG to reduce N1.5 trillion from 2020 budget due to coronavirus

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) now stands at $72 million as the country continues to grapple with an unprecedented revenue crisis not seen since the early eighties. The ECA account has now fallen by about 98% within the last 5 years.

The information on the excess crude account was revealed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed in a National Economic Council Meeting during the week. The ECA is a savings account retained by the Federal Government and is funded by the difference between the market price of crude oil and the budgeted price of crude oil as contained in the appropriation bill.

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There were major concerns last November when it was reported that the ECA balances held just $324.5 million one of the lowest balances recorded at the time. At $72 million the ECA is in low territory highlighting the effect of the fall in crude oil prices this year. Crude oil prices have crashed to sub-zero in March and have risen back o just over $40/barrel in recent weeks. However, it still remains low from Nigeria’s previous budget benchmark.

ECA in the news

About a year ago Nairametrics reported Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account has dropped to $480 million. This is as controversy continues to trail the $1 billion military spendings which were withdrawn from Nigeria’s Excess Crude. According to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s annual report for 2018, Nigeria’s crude excess account fell from $2.45 billion in 2017 to $480 million as of December 2018.

(READ MORE: Rising COVID-19 cases in world’s biggest economy falter crude oil prices)

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Just 5 years ago (August 2015) the ECA stood at $2.2 billion. This was the early days of the Buhari administration. It was $3.6 billion in February 2014, one of the highest balances on record. That same month, at its monthly FAAC, the government agreed to remove fuel subsidy from its books. Fuel subsidy is currently being borne by the NNPC.

The Controversies: Last year, the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari was accused of mismanaging the country’s Excess Crude Account especially the $1 billion reportedly spent on military equipment.

  • The National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Major General Babagana Monguno Gen. Babagana was quoted to have disclosed that he was not aware of the whereabouts or disbursement of the $1billion drawn from the ECA by the Buhari presidency in 2017 for security purposes.
  • While controversies trail the statement credited to the NSA, with many describing it as diversion of public funds, the Presidency provided some explanations.
  • Responding to the allegations, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that various procurements had been made for the purchase of critical equipment for the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, and the Air Force, contrary to the allegations.

Nigeria’s ECA in retrospect: In Nigeria, there are two Sovereign Wealth Funds: the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Note that these two are funded by the savings earned when oil prices are at peak.

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  • Hence, as a larger chunk of revenue is appropriated for ECA and NSIA, the country’s external reserves are likely to fall.
  • Note that the sovereign wealth fund was established to address the controversies surrounding the Excess Crude Account.
  • The fund is usually expected to generate revenue to meet budget shortfalls in the future, provide dedicated funding for the development of infrastructure and saves for future generations.

ECA depleted by 98% in 5 years: A closer look at the various annual reports of the Central Bank of Nigeria shows that Nigeria’s excess crude account has now fallen by a whopping 98% in just 5 years.

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