NMA Tells Tinubu’s Govt to Stop Exodus of Pharmaceutical, Multi-National Companies Now, Exit Due to Challenging Business Environment

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on Bola Tinubu’s government to urgently address the exodus of pharmaceutical and multinational companies from the country.

At a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja, the newly elected NMA president, Dr. Bala Muhammad Audu, urged the government to invest adequately in domestic pharmaceutical and other companies to halt this trend.

He expressed concerns that the future access of Nigerians to essential medicines is at risk if immediate action is not taken.

The press conference followed the NMA’s 64th Annual General Conference and Delegates Meeting, held from May 5th to 12th, 2024, at the Calabar International Convention Center in Cross River State.

The conference’s theme was “Reversing the Trend of Health Sector Brain Drain,” with a subtheme on “Euthanasia in Medical Practice.”

Dr. Audu emphasized that the departure of these companies has led to drug shortages, significant price increases, and job losses.

The NMA insisted that the government must create a more business-friendly environment and make necessary investments to retain pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria.

The NMA highlighted that this exodus raises serious concerns about the future access to essential medicines for millions of Nigerians.

The association also expressed deep concern that despite the tremendous efforts of healthcare workers to provide services, they continue to face violent assaults and kidnappings at their workplaces.

In the communiqué released to the media following the annual general meeting, the NMA stated, “The conference also strongly condemned the government’s inability to ensure the safe release of health workers still in captivity.

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“The Conference is deeply worried that the spate of kidnappings, banditry, armed robbery and killing of innocent citizens in Nigeria, has reached alarming rates causing palpable fears among the citizens.

“The NMA noted the continuous exit of pharmaceutical giants from Nigeria due to challenging business environment caused by impact of naira devaluation and forex scarcity.

“This has resulted in drugs shortages, geometric increases in the prices of drugs and job losses. The conference further noted that this exodus raises serious concerns about the future of access to essential medicines by millions of Nigerians.

“The Annual General reviewed the level of progress made in clearing the backlog of salary arrears, implementation of the new hazard allowance, the review and implementation of the revised Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) and other salary packages for doctors and other health workers in various NMA state branches.

“The conference was impressed with the various interventions of the Executive Governors of Ekiti, Rivers and Ebonyi states.

“The Conference also noted the level of progress made by other governors in clearing backlog of unpaid salaries and improving the wages of doctors and other Health workers in their states.

“The conference noted the increasing number of quacks apprehended over the past few months. Suffice to say that quackery has brought untold hardships to many Nigerians, in terms of attendant complications with deadly outcomes,”the communique further read.