Written by Williams ABAH

Respite for sickle-cell patients as new drug births

In furtherance of the private sector alliance with the federal government under the Public Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding between the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development NIPRD, and May & Baker in Abuja. 

Speaking at the ceremony, the minister said the commercialization of NIPRISAN herbal product, a drug for sickle cell anemia, has come a long way to serve as a model for the production, development of regulatory guidelines for the assessment and registration of phytomedicines in Nigeria. 

He noted that the project is the first herbal medicinal product in Nigeria to go through the full process of clinical studies starting from phase one to the end, as such it should be marketed to all for the treatment of sickle cell anemia. 

This, he said, would encourage the production of more drugs for the treatment of other ailments and further strengthen the collaboration between the two organizations for the overall benefit of Nigerians. 

“This is the beginning of many more products to come from NIPRD,’’ Adewole added. 

Speaking earlier, the Acting Director General of NIPRD, Prof. Kunle Olubayo, said in spite of initial challenges faced as regards commercialization of NIPRISAN, the product has survived to prove that research could be done well in Nigeria. 

He also informed that patients who were part of the phase 2A studies in the institute found NIPRISAN so useful that they formed a Sickle Cell Club at the end of the study and subsequently requested that the institute continued to provide them with the drug.

In his remarks, the representative of May& Baker pharmaceutical company, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, reminded that the company had been the first western company to produce drugs in Nigeria and as such, the firm was committed to further the partnership through more research and production of other quality and affordable drugs in Nigeria to ensure the wellbeing of all.

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