Stakeholders in Nigeria Advance Discussions on Local Production of Antiretroviral Drugs and Test Kit
As part of measures to reduce donor dependence and improve sustainable financing of the HIV program in Nigeria, Health Policy Plus (HP+) hosted a Stakeholder Roundtable Dialogue on Local Production of Antiretroviral Drugs in Lagos, Nigeria on July 13, 2022, to obtain insights and actions that will inform a roadmap. The roadmap will serve as a strategic plan outlining the roles of key actors in ensuring an enabling environment for the local production of ARV drugs in Nigeria. . Successful implementation of the roadmap will advance local production of HIV commodities, thereby increasing access to quality antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and test kits and generally improving HIV outcomes in Nigeria.
In attendance at the meeting were forty participants from HP+, USAID, the Federal Ministry of Health, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, Lagos State Health Management Agency, Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, pharmaceutical companies, pharmaceutical associations, UNAIDS, implementing partner organizations, the Lagos state chamber of commerce, civil society organizations, and retail pharmacists.
HP+ presented the findings and recommendations from a technical memo developed on the feasibility, requirements, risks, benefits, potential market size, and availability of local production of HIV commodities (i.e., ARV drugs and test kits) in Nigeria. Some of the challenges identified included difficulty obtaining World Health Organization prequalification for products, insufficient government commitment, lack of guaranteed market purchase, high cost of production inputs, lack of fiscal incentives, increased tariffs, and multiple taxations. In convergence with the technical memo’s recommendations, participants noted that advance market commitment from the government and donors, and enabling a supportive regulatory and policy environment, are necessary preconditions for making progress in the local production of HIV commodities.
While challenges to local manufacturing persist, a representative of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria remarked, "If the government and donors can guarantee purchase of the ARV drugs we produce, then we can surmount the other hurdles.”
Participants highlighted the need for a sustained multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach while utilizing existing mechanisms and opportunities in a plenary discussion to secure perspectives and recommendations on the roadmap for local production of HIV commodities. Harmonizing policy conversations backed with strong political will is also a key to fast-tracking implementation of local manufacture of HIV commodities in Nigeria.