The Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID) Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, on Sunday said the institute had commenced the production of NIPRISAN, a sickle cell management drug.

Prof Gamaniel said this in Abuja; the medicine was available at the institute’s headquarters in Abuja.    He said the production of NIPRISAN on a pilot scale was the institute’s way of catering for sickle-cell anaemia patients.

It was recalls that sickle cell anaemia management drugs were produced initially under the name `NICOSAN’.

But their production stopped in 2008 after the production company, Xechem International, was declared bankrupt.

The director said a number of court cases had hampered the production of the drugs over time.

He said the Federal Ministry of Health had decided to commence the production of sickle cell anaemia management drugs on a pilot basis as part of its social responsibility.

“Now, you can get NIPRISAN if you need it. The last time it was selling between N10, 000 and N15, 000 for a bottle of 30 capsules.

“But today NIPRID is giving it directly to patients who need it, based on consent, at the rate of N3, 000.

“We are not scaling up because we need a bigger facility which we are pursuing aggressively but we are being careful.

“People are ready to say `okay, let’s sponsor’, but in government and public institutions like ours, there are procedures for doing such,” the NIPRID director-general said.

He said while the medicine was only available now at the institute’s headquarters in Abuja, plans were underway to extend availability to other facilities before the end of 2013.

Gamaniel said NIPRID had however received a lot of support from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), adding that funding had been a major setback.   “We have advertised to commercialize the production of NIPRISAN, but the court case on ground is hindering us because no one wants to go to court.

“What the Minister of Health (Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu) is saying is that we can continue the production on a pilot scale for six months or one year.

“When the terrain is calm enough and people are seeing that the drug is available and helping people, we can then advertise and give it to a company that will produce, and this time a Nigerian company,” he said.

The director-general said NIPRISAN was a combination of medicine which is predominantly food items that works better when they are together.

Source 🙁 NAN)

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