By YASHIM KATURAK
The Federal Government of Nigeria has pledged to support the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) with N100 million grant to boost research and development of traditional herbal medicines.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the pledge in Abuja on Friday at the occasion of the institute’s Research and Development Products Presentation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event also marks the end of tenure of the NIPRD Director-General, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, which spans a period of eight years; 2009 to 2017.
It also showcases the achievements and challenges faced by the institute during this period in the area of research and development of traditional herbal products.
The minister said at the occasion that the funds would be used to set up a unit that would be dedicated to research and development of traditional herbal products in the institute.
Adewole gave NAFDAC 30 days ultimatum to approve all the products developed by the institute to enable it move for commercialisation and subsequent use by citizens.
The minister, who scored the institute high in its 30 years of existence, however challenged it to do more in the years to come.
He urged the management to evolve a strategic plan that would enable it continue to develop traditional herbal products for use by citizens.
“You have done well, but we can still do more; I want you to make efforts to set up a Primary Healthcare facility here in the institute for the citizens.
“Make it easier for them to have access to these herbal products so that they can appreciate them.
“In the next three months, we hope to set up a consultation between the institute, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Bank of Industry.
“I want you to bring all the products you have developed here in the institute, let us show them that these products have value and need to be commercialised.
“I am also working towards setting up a Traditional Medicine Department in the ministry which will not only enable us generate resources but also help to boost research and development of these products and make it special to use here in Nigeria,” the minister said.
Earlier, the director-general said the institute has successfully researched and developed six herbal products for treatment and management of various diseases.
These products include: NIPRIBOL a fixed dose combination drug for treatment of Ebola Virus Disease; NIPRIMAL for treatment of malaria, and NIPRIMUNE an immune-stimulant which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria.
Others are NIPRIFAN for the treatment of fungal skin infection; NIPRD Oil for nasal decongestion, which can also be used as an insect repellent, air freshener as an anti-inflammatory product.
The director-general said the institute has also successfully researched and developed NIPRISAN for the management of sickle cell anaemia, adding that the institute is currently concluding plans for the commercialisation of the product.