Address high cost of essential medicines, healthcare providers tell FG

Address high cost of essential medicines, healthcare providers tell FG

Angela Onwuzoo<

Healthcare providers in Nigeria have urged the Federal Government to address the high cost of essential medicines in the country.

According to them, the cost of essential medicines has been going up in recent times thus making life more difficult for Nigerians.

The healthcare providers under the aegis of the Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria stressed that the FG should as a matter of urgency address the problem, lamenting that the high cost of essential medicines is causing a serious problem in the health sector.

According to them, the high cost of drugs has become a heavy and unbearable burden on patients.

The National President of HCPAN, Dr. Jimmy Arigbabuwo, made the call in a statement released on Thursday and made available to PUNCH HealthWise.

Arigbabuwo said, “The attention of the healthcare providers nationwide has been drawn to a dramatic and unimaginable cost of various types and brands of intravenous fluids of all types now selling.

“They are being procured at costs that even beat crazy the current trends of convulsing costs of drugs and medicines of all types in the health sector in Nigeria.

“Agreed that water is the only raw material that our drugs and medicines manufacturers do not import, this trend of only converting semi-finished products into final products is no longer new to us even long before now. 

“Agreed the naira has lost the best part of her beauty to the dollars and other harder currencies, the abysmally high cost of I/v fluids and other drugs and medicines we can call essential is already causing a bigger blow more than severe economic embarrassment in the health sector (especially in the private, and perhaps the public sector as well).”

Dr. Arigbabuwo who is also the National Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association Committee on Public-Private Partnership also said, “It is only occasionally excusable that these fluids are not used in all surgical procedures as well as medical emergencies. 

“It is by far life saving singular tool in most cases of road traffic accidents and traumas where blood loss is significant.

“The near spine breaking chaos in the supply chain is no longer acceptable especially when we consider that over 70 per cent of the healthcare expenses are still out of pocket ( 76.6 per cent).”

The physician asked for a bailout and a National Emergency Response in the health sector from what he described as a very heavy and unbearable burden on the patients.

“A situation where a pint ( 500 MLS) of Dextrose/Saline or Normal Saline drips is sold for between N750 and N780. Or a carton of 20 of such bottles is now sold for N15,000:00 as against what had been sold for between N4,500 and N5,500 a few months back or N3,000 about the year 2020 calls for an unusual alarm. 

“Affected critical stakeholders are anxiously waiting for this national issue to be addressed with the necessary and urgent attention it deserves. 

“We are suspecting a cartel of the extraordinary dimensions in this case scenario,” he said.

The HCPAN president called on the Minister of Health, Dr.Osagie Ehanire to as a matter of national urgency intervene and help address the challenge.

He also urged the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria to collaborate with healthcare providers in a joint effort to help ordinary Nigerians.

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