India factories closure: TB, cancer patients, others face risk over looming drug scarcity

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Drug distributors and importers have expressed concerns over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in India, which has inevitably led to a massive death toll and temporary closure of factories.

Among other things, they warned that patients, especially those with chronic ailments such as cancer, tuberculosis, human immunodeficiency virus, and diabetes, were at risk due to an impending drug scarcity.

This is just as physicians in the country called for understanding, adding that the situation could be managed without being panicky.

As of Friday, India’s coronavirus infection had hit 30 million cases, with around 4,000 deaths daily.

Worried by the development, the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria on Thursday raised the alarm that Nigeria risked running out of its current stock of pharmaceutical and medical supply.

The association premised its warning on the rising cases of COVID-19 in India, which is arguably Nigeria’s biggest drug importing hub.

The President of the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas, Dr Anthony Ikeme, had also last year emphatically stated that the country expended an estimated $600m (about N276bn) annually on imported drugs from China and India.

Ikeme warned that unless the Federal Government developed and executed a blueprint for the economic development of the pharmaceutical industry, the country might pay heavily for its over-reliance on the South Asian country for most medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

Speaking with Sunday PUNCH, PWDAN Chairman, Dr Ernest Okafor, expressed concerns that with the temporary closure of some factories, shipping drugs from India was becoming a daunting task.