I am indeed very delighted to write the foreword to this second edition of the National Drug Policy. The maiden edition of the Policy was launched in 1990. However many of the expectations of that edition were unrealized due mainly to lack of political will by past governments and the absence of a well-structured monitoring system. This revised edition has taken care of those identified lapses. It was developed with adequate consultation with relevant stakeholders in the Pharmaceutical sector in order to ensure a coherent and multisectoral platform for achieving the main goals of the National Drug Policy.
The launching of this edition is against the backdrop of the overall Health Sector Reform (HSR) Programme of my Ministry. One of the major outputs of the ongoing HSR is the adoption of a revised National Health Policy by the Federal Government. While the chronological synchronization of the revised National Drug Policy with the updated National Health Policy may appear coincidental, it is nonetheless providential and fortuitous.
No matter how vibrant a health policy, without availability of good quality and affordable medicines, that policy will be sterile. Fortunately, the Government of President Obansanjo has been paying special attention to the pharmaceutical subsector. The Presidential Forum on the Pharmaceutical Sector held in November 2003 underscored this special focus. Since that event, the Government has taken a number of pragmatic steps towards boosting the local capacity for the manufacture of essential medicines. This is to ensure that the local pharmaceutical industry becomes a major actor in providing good quality essential medicines for our health care programmes.
The recently released 2005 Fiscal Policy is the most favorable ever, as far as the pharmaceutical sector is concerned. It provides very attractive incentives both to the existing players and prospective investors in the production of life-saving essential medicines. It is my earnest hope that the launching of the second edition of the National Drug Policy will further increase the vibrancy of the pharmaceutical sector for the overall improvement of people’s health.
In concluding this foreword, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the National Drug Policy Review Committee headed by Dr. Philip Emafo, a renowned pharmacist and a World Health Organisation consultant. The diligence of the committee is warmly and heartily acknowledged. Without the financial and technical support of the Nigerian Country office of the World Health Organisation, the review exercise would not have succeeded. I feel greatly indebted to them. Government shall do its utmost to ensure that this revised edition is faithfully and successfully implemented.
Professor Eyitayo Lambo
Honourable Minister of Health,
Abuja, April 2005