The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) says it is collaborating with the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) and ECOWAS on the local production of Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARD) in Nigeria.
UNAIDS, 2 others to collaborate on production of anti-retroviral drugs
Camara said that the collaboration between UNAIDS, WAHO and ECOWAS was to accelerate pre-qualification processes and other terms and condition of the production.
Dr Bilali Camara, UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for ECOWAS, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said UNAIDS had series of negotiations and meetings with the two organisations to see how fast they could move on the local production of the drugs.
He said that the pharmaceutical companies were ready to commence the production of the drugs but they had to tie up loose ends.
According to the country director, the companies wanted a tax free importation of essential ingredients for the production of the drugs which he said could be taken care of.
Camara also said that the pharmaceutical companies were also raising issues about the market for the products.He said that if they could get a guarantee that West and Central Africa would buy the drugs from them, they would be much comfortable to commence the production.
"This is a political negotiation but also it is a market negotiation in line with the World Trade Organisation’s rules and regulations.
"We are looking at the rules to see how some exceptions will favour the pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria in this regard,’’ he said.
Camara explained that records had shown that no fewer than seven million people across west and central Africa lives with HIV/AIDS which is a good market for the product.
"This is one of the major ways to make a difference by ensuring that people who need the drugs get it as at when due.
"It is good to have competitive market under the WTO regulations but on this, we are exceptionally discussing the health of the people and so, some of the WTO rules cannot apply.
"Because we are discussing about life and sustaining the life of the people and making sure that life saving drugs reach the people who need it.
"The precautionary measures are important that is where we are looking at WAHO and ECOWAS to help us, as United Nations to see how we can get the process moving forward.
"It is about the life of people. We cannot move any agreement above that,’’ he said.
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