GSK Seeks Waiver on Drugs, Decries Poor Energy Supply

Proshare

May 25, 2007/ Independent

 

 

<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc (GSK), Olusegun Osunkeye, has called on the Federal Government to review the ban on some pharmaceutical products, especially antibiotics, which are not produced locally, until the local industry develops the expertise to produce them.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He also noted that frequent outages in the past three years despite huge investment by government in the power sector has forced manufacturers to generate over 70 percent of their energy requirements. </P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">Osunkeye, who spoke in Lagos on Tuesday during the 36th Annual General Meeting of GSK, however, commended the recent consolidation in the banking and insurance sectors. He expressed the hope that the manufacturing sector would soon begin to savour the benefits of the reforms.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He disclosed that the company had made a strong case for the pharmaceuticals to be un-banned because their non-availability in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = \"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags\" /><st1:place w:st=\"on\"><st1:country-region w:st=\"on\">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place> had opened doors to smugglers and counterfeiters to bring in substandard products in the name of such popular brands.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He said, \"It is injurious to the patients and our citizens if they are unknowingly buying products, which are substandard. We are, therefore, appealing to the government to look again at that ban and remove it or give a waiver so that the drug can be available for the good health of our citizens. </P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">\"Before the ban, the product was selling at stable prices. But after the ban, we have received reports that they are now selling it at three times the original price, which means apart from the consumers buying substandard products injurious to their health, they are also paying far too much.\" </P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">On the need to localise the content and production of drugs by the company, Osunkeye gave an assurance that whenever the company finds quality local raw materials it would be assessed but stated that most of the products manufactured by GSK are of \"high technology,\" and a high level research and development.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He also noted that GSK Worldwide has a central research and development centre where over eight million pounds is invested daily and added that such amount of money is not available to many countries in the world.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">The GSK boss said that research from the centre is concentrated for worldwide application, which the company in <st1:place w:st=\"on\"><st1:country-region w:st=\"on\">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place> also enjoys \"rather than trying to reinvent the wheel on our own.\"</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He said that although the company is linked to a gas pipeline, the sole supplier enjoys a monopoly, while at the same time the federal government has directed that power generating companies should be given priority in gas supply to ensure stable power supply in the country.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He said that the little gas available to the private sector due to frequent vandalisation of pipelines is usually supplied to the Power Holding Company of <st1:place w:st=\"on\"><st1:country-region w:st=\"on\">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place>, a development, which had led to power crisis in the country.</P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He maintained that the price of diesel, which is the third component of the energy tripod usually assessed by the company, has gone up by over 50 per cent, which also forms part of the manufacturing costs. </P>
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<P class=MsoNormal style=\"MARGIN: 0cm 0cm 0pt; TEXT-ALIGN: justify\">He appealed to the Federal Government to address the fundamental energy and infrastructural problems crippling manufacturing in the country, re-inflate the economy through improved purchasing power for Nigerians and intensify the ongoing fight against fake and counterfeit products.<SPAN style=\"mso-spacerun: yes\">&nbsp; </SPAN><I style=\"mso-bidi-font-style: normal\"><SPAN style=\"FONT-SIZE: 9pt; COLOR: olive\"></SPAN></I></P>
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