The maiden National Drug Policy (NDP) for Nigeria was adopted and launched in 1990 against the background of inadequacies in drug availability, supply and distribution resulting from various factors, such as:
• An ineffective system of drug administration and control;
• Inadequate funding of drug supply and drug control activities;
• High dependence on foreign sources for finished drug products, pharmaceutical raw materials, reagents and equipment;
• Inadequate facilities for storage, transportation and distribution of drugs;
• Poor selection and procurement practices;
• The involvement of unqualified persons in procurement, distribution and sale of drugs;
• Poor performance of drug suppliers to public health care institutions; an
• Lack of political will to provide safe, efficacious and good quality drugs to meet the health needs of Nigerians.
The policy was formulated with laudable goals and objectives intended to address the unsatisfactory situation at that time. Its adoption was seen as a positive development by observers. After over a decade of its adoption and implementation, some modest progress has been recorded. These include the publication of an Essential Drugs List (EDL), and a National Drug Formulary (NDF), the establishment of a statutory agency with responsibility for drug administration and control, and the introduction of drug registration procedures. However, much more still remains to be done in many areas, such as the realisation of self-sufficiency in local production of essential drugs, the establishment of an effective drug procurement system, evolving a well-ordered drug distribution system, the harmonisation and updating of drug legislation, the effective control of drug advertisement and promotion, the entrenchment of and commitment to rational use of drugs at all levels of health care, and drug research and development etc. The revision of the Policy presents an excellent opportunity for formulating new strategies, for consolidating achievements in areas where progress has been recorded, and addressing those areas that call for more positive action. It is hoped that with judicious implementation of the revised policy, as laid out in the accompanying implementation plan, the Nigerian people will have sustainable access to safe, efficacious and good quality drugs.