Anti-retroviral drugs are not freely available

The Special Assistant on Millennium Development Goals to the president, Precious Gbenero, has advocated for local production of HIV drugs in order to enhance the availability and reduce cost.

Gbenero, who made the remarks, on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Pharmacy Week organized by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Abuja chapter, said Nigeria needs to encourage its pharmacists to look into local production of the drugs.

?If the drugs are readily available, it will reduce the number of people dying from HIV and patients on drugs will have a reduced rate of infecting their partners,? she said.

Represented by Christopher Otabor, the special assistant to the president noted that pharmacist and other health services providers are catalysts for achieving the health related millennium development goals in the country.

The Chairman of PSN, Superior Atumen, who welcomed the calls, lamented that professionals were being sidelined in the general healthcare system in the country.

He warned that Nigeria was unlikely to achieve MDG targets without recognising the potential of the pharmacists.

On his part, President of the Institute of Leadership and Strategic Development, Otive Igbuzor, said many ?low-cost and proven interventions? drugs that could be beneficial to patients were being ignored.

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