Drug, cost of care spike by 150%

Drug, cost of care spike by 150%

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Drug, cost of care spike by 150%

Spike In Drugs

Drug, cost of care spike by 150%. Nigerians may have begun to experience the inflationary impact of the Naira’s floating as well as the loss of subsidies as prices of vital pharmaceuticals and health-care costs have recently risen, much to the chagrin of care seekers and practitioners.

Yesterday’s findings revealed that several of the drugs are either running out of stock or are prohibitively expensive. Despite the Federal Government’s aims to cut drug importation in the country from 60% to 40% in order to boost local drug manufacture, at least 70% of medicines taken in the country are imported.

Almost a month after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) shut down the foreign exchange (FX) market, the competing problems have grown more tenacious and entrenched, disturbing individuals and companies across the board.

The active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for domestically produced pharmaceuticals are imported from neighboring nations, particularly those for which the country lacks raw material development.

According to a poll conducted by The Guardian and confirmed by medical doctors and hospital pharmacists, drug and medical service prices increased by at least 60% to 150% in two months.

For example, two months ago, Ventolin Inhaler Brand Salbutamol (by GSK Pharmaceuticals) cost on average N4,500 a canister; currently, it ranges from N6,500 to N12,000 in some retail outlets.

“Two months ago, a packet of ten Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets cost roughly N2,500. Today, it costs about N3,500 per sachet of 10 tablets. Rocephin 1g injection (brand of Ceftriaxone) costs about N4,500 per vial two months ago, today it has risen to more than N6,500 per vial.

“The antibiotic Co- Amoxiclav (Amoxicillin and Clavulanic Acid 625 mg) cost averagely N5,000 for a sachet of 14 tablets, two months ago, while today, it goes for as much as N7,000 per sachet.

“Even locally manufactured paracetamol is not immune to the skyrocketing prices.” Two months ago, a sachet of paracetamol tablets by 12 cost N150; today, the same sachet costs N250 or more at various retail stores. Amatem, a brand of artemether Lumefantrine, cost N1,800 two months ago and now costs up to N2,500 each sachet containing six gels.

“Seretide inhaler Brand of Salmeterol and Fluticasone”), which cost around N5,500 two months ago, now costs up to N11,000 where it is accessible.

“Removal of subsidy on fuel has resulted in sharp increases in prices of medicines, ranging from about 60 per cent in some cases like paracetamol, to over 150 per cent increase for Ventolin Inhaler and others.”

It is feared that the scenario has resulted in an increase in consequences, particularly chronic diseases and mortality. Some people who talked to The Guardian said they had turned to traditional medicine because they couldn’t afford mainstream therapies any more.

According to doctors and pharmacists interviewed by The Guardian, such decisions for alternative medicine and inaccessible pharmaceuticals have far-reaching consequences for treatment outcomes, mortality, and, of course, morbidity. They said those patients suffering from life threatening diseases are extremely vulnerable, because failure to access their medications could result in death.

The Guardian survey showed that most foreign drugs are presently and significantly scarce while the available ones are drastically expensive.

GSK products, which supply the country the most necessary antibiotics such as Ventolin, Augmentin, Seretide, Cervarix (HPV vaccine for cervical cancer), Duodart, Zinnat, and Ampiclox, are out of stock, and the few that are accessible are almost unaffordable.

As a clinical pharmacologist and the Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services,

Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Amibor of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Asaba, Delta State, stated that there is no doubt that the prices of medicines have escalated in the previous two months, and the trend is even worse with imported products that are not manufactured in Nigeria.

Amibor, a former Chairman of the Association of Hospital Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHPN), stated that variables that ensure access to vital drugs include low prices, long-term financing, and dependable health systems. He stated that universal health coverage could only be realized if safe, effective, and high-quality medicines and health products are affordable.

The hospital pharmacist said from the prices of medicines listed, it becomes glaring that access to essential medicines has already been impeded, given the scenario where prices have more than doubled, while salaries have remained largely stagnated.

“Of course, it is already affecting healthcare delivery,” Amibor added. Allow me to paint a true picture of the current situation: a good number of patients who manage to visit the hospital, after receiving their prescriptions, go to the Pharmacy, and upon learning of the new cost of their prescribed medicines, some will tell you, ‘I am coming,’ and disappear from the hospital, never to be seen again. Others may only be able to afford two or three of the five prescription medications, while abandoning the others.

“There is no way to achieve optimal healthcare in either of the scenarios described above due to limited access to medicines.” Some hospitals are unable to obtain critical medicines from producers.

“To directly answer your question, the current situation has resulted in patients not being able to access optimal healthcare, particularly access to their prescribed medications.”

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