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Pharmaceutical company leads campaign to build home for Jigawa gateman




Abuja, May 15, 2018 Jawa Pharmaceutical Company and other partners are leading the campaign to build a home for Jigawa gateman, who served the company selflessly for 25 years.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Musa Usman, a Fulani from Giljimmi community in Birniwa Local Government Area of Jigawa State, had served an Indian National, Mr Varkey Verghese, the Managing Director of Jawa Pharmaceutical Company in Lagos for 25 years.

Upon leaving the company, his boss offered to build a house for him to appreciate his hardworking nature and diligence, but Usman rejected the house gift, insisting that a borehole be sunk in his village, which lacked potable water.

Verghese said that his decision for the parting gift was as a result of high degree of honesty exhibited by Usman, while working for him, saying there was never a time when any of his items got missing.

“Musa has served me diligently for 25 years, we will travel to India and leave our house under his care and we will always meet everything intact. He is indeed, an honest Nigerian,” he said.

Meanwhile, Musa said that he rejected the offer because he be the only one live in the house, while the water project would  serve the entire community, hence the choice to accept the offer for a borehole.

He said that people in his community usually trekked for no less than 4km to get water, suffering untold hardships and many diseases due to lack of access to potable water supply.

“Our people are really suffering they trek long distances to get water, if they give me the house only, I and my family will live in the house, but if they provide water for my community, everybody will benefit from it.

“My friends and family thought I am crazy that I got an opportunity to own a house of my own , but decided to choose my community instead of myself, but I told them I know what I want.’’

The Convener, #Shelter4MusaUsman Campaign, Dr Ipoade Omilaju, said that the campaign aimed at showing the world that Nigerians “are good and diligent’’, and called on everyone to donate to the worthy cause.

Omilaju said that it was a matter for regret that Nigeria was one of the countries which did not meet the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation, stressing the need for collective action to change the narratives.

“In Nigeria, according to UNICEF, 73 per cent of the diarrhea diseases burden is associated with poor access to adequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and is disproportionately borne by poorer children.

“Frequent episodes of WASH-related ill-health in children contribute to absenteeism in school and malnutrition.”

Omilaju, while commending efforts of Jawa Pharmaceutical company for genuine reward of selfless service, pledged to take the campaign to build a home for Musa aggressively.

The immediate past President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, expressed worry about poor access to WASH in the country.

According to him, access to water is critical to inclusive growth and development, saying the corporate social responsibility of Jawa pharmaceutical should be emulated by all.

Yakasai linked insurgency, conflict and unending violence to unequal distribution of wealth and poor access to basic needs, calling on tiers of government to prioritise these needs.

“Nigeria needs to start rewarding selfless service and becoming more humane in policies and programmes, if we do these things, we would be better for it.”

Other partners include the WASH Media Network, WaterAid among others, with calls to make access to WASH a priority.

The #Shelter4MusaUsman campaign aims at raising funds to help build a home for Musa Usman, with donations already coming in from highly spirited individuals.

The Account Name is Shelter For Musa Usman – Account Number – 203415584, First Bank Plc.


Demand for Singapore’s pharmaceuticals surges amid pandemic



A huge jump in sales of pharmaceuticals saw Singapore’s exports expand by 9.7 per cent year on year in April amid the coronavirus pandemic, though overall trade declined.

Enterprise Singapore, a government agency, said that Singapore’s exports of pharmaceuticals to the European Union and Japan rose by 467 per cent and 864 per cent respectively compared to the same period a year ago.

Dutch bank ING attributed Singapore’s April exports surge to the new coronavirus, saying on Monday that “the global pandemic has lifted pharmaceuticals to be the star-performer.”

April was the third consecutive month in which Singapore’s exports grew. However most sectors – including electronics, which typically makes up around 30 per cent of exports – saw declines.

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the world economy could shrink by 3 per cent in 2020 due a pandemic which has seen a reported 4.7 million people infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, and 315,000 related deaths.

Small and trade-dependent economies such as Singapore’s are vulnerable to collapsing demand in major markets such as China, Europe, and the U.S., with Singapore’s government, saying that its economy could contract by up 4 per cent in 2020.

Other estimates suggest a steeper fall is possible, with Deutsche Bank warning of an 11.2-per-cent decline.

Singapore’s economy has been in lockdown since April 7 due to the spread of Covid-19, mostly among migrant workers.

Ministry of Health data updated on Sunday showed over 28,000 infections, the second most of any East or South-East Asian country after China.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi criticised for considering U.S. priority for COVID-19 vaccine 



French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has come under fire at home after chief executive Paul Hudson suggested the U.S. would get first access to a vaccine the firm is working on for COVID-19.

The company tried to repair the damage on Thursday, with Sanofi France president Olivier Bogillot telling BFMTV television that “if the Europeans work as quickly as the Americans” in supporting research they could get it at the same time.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he had called the company’s chairman, Serge Weinberg, to “remind” him that equal access to the vaccine for everyone was “not negotiable.”

“He gave me all the necessary assurances concerning the distribution in France of any Sanofi vaccine,” Philippe wrote on Twitter.

Hudson told news agency Bloomberg on Wednesday that the U.S. government “has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk.”

He was cited as saying that the U.S. could be days or weeks ahead of other countries in getting access to the vaccine, and that Europe needed to step up efforts so as not to be left behind.

Bogillot told broadcaster LCI that U.S. authorities had started working with the company on a vaccine months ago, while in Europe discussions had only started some weeks ago and it was difficult to find “one person to talk to”.

Vaccines normally took years to develop and to get one ready next year, Europe would have to “mobilise at the same speed as the Americans to accelerate all the regulatory steps,” he said.

Sanofi is working on two potential vaccines against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, one of them in conjunction with U.S. government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Hudson last month said the firm hoped to gain approval for that vaccine in the “mid to second half of 2021,” with the second vaccine also coming on line in the second half of 2021.

In an emailed statement late on Wednesday, Sanofi said it was having “very constructive conversations” with the European Union, France, and Germany to get support similar to that offered by the U.S.

The company said its U.S.-based production would be mainly for the U.S. market, with sites elsewhere covering Europe and the rest of the world.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said Hudson’s comments to Bloomberg “do not in any way correspond to the work under way between Sanofi and the French government.”

“As Emmanuel Macron has indicated, a vaccine against COVID-19 must be a global public good,” Philippe wrote on Twitter.

Hudson’s comments drew anger from the French opposition too, with Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure saying they were “scandalous.”

No French company should be able to “play against our sovereignty in health matters without running the risk of being nationalised,” he said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The European Commission backed the French position, with spokesperson Stefan de Keersmaecker saying that access to any vaccine “needs to be equitable and universal”.

“Solidarity and close coordination is the most effective and the most secure response to … COVID-19,” de Keersmaecker said.

The European Commission last week hosted an international pledging conference where 7.4 billion euros was promised to help develop a vaccine, tests and treatments for global use.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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COVID-19 pandemic’ll give birth to indigenous pharmaceutical companies – NAFDAC DG



Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the Coronavirus pandemic will give birth to so many indigenous pharmaceutical companies in the country.

Adeyeye said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

The director general said that God had endowed Nigeria with abundant resources to turn the crisis into great opportunity by manufacturing raw materials for productions of drugs.

“One thing that will come out of COVID-19 is that companies will start manufacturing pharmaceutical ingredients, even if it is one or two.

“Let us start something instead of importing everything; let us invest in our country.

“I am very confident of that because God gave us brains. We go out of this country and most of us in diaspora become stars in different fields,” she said.

Adeyeye emphasised that God had given Nigerians the best brains to transform the country in all the sectors of the economy.

“All we need is to focus on the areas of priority. If government does not focus on education, instructing the university lecturers to prioritise research and development, we may not achieve drug security.

“Also, we need to address the issue of incessant strikes; I am not saying that some of the reasons of going on strike are not genuine, but that is not the way to solve our problems.

“I was a professor for 30 years, in USA where I worked, it is strange to be on strike.

“We take planning seriously, so that is the reason why if we want to get there, we have to change our ways,’’ she said.

According to her, Nigeria needs to change its ways and have good development policies.

China has a policy on family planning but here we don’t want to restrict the number of children we have; we keep talking about our grandchildren having so many children but they are all farmers.’’

Adeyeye said that NAFDAC had received applications from people seeking to register their facemasks producing outfits and would treat the applications to support local content.

“We are now testing them in the laboratory to see how safe and thick they are.

“The quality of the materials will determine if it is safe to stop your droplets from getting to somebody else; it is the thickness that matters.

“The quality of the material determines whether is safe or not,’’ she said.

According to her, the important aspect of facemask is that it must protect the user from getting  droplets out or inhaling any.

“So, it is the thickness that matters for the general population. The thickness should stop droplets from getting out of the user’s system.

“Also, the materials should be soft enough not to irritate the user,” she said.


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French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi to make COVID-19 vaccine available to all – Official 



French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi plans to make any vaccine it develops against the novel coronavirus available to all.

“The vaccine against COVID-19 will be made available to the public at large, regardless of nationality,” the company’s director general Paul Hudson said, according to a tweet from Sanofi France on Wednesday evening.

The message came after Hudson, in an interview with Bloomberg, said the U.S. would have priority because they were the first in line to fund the company’s research.

“The US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it’s invested in taking the risk,” Hudson told Bloomberg.

In April, Sanofi and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline both said they wanted to work together on a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

If tests are successful, a vaccine could be available in the second half of 2021.

Sanofi said in its Wednesday tweet that its teams are making efforts to accelerate the development of a vaccine.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Ukrainian pharmaceutical manufacturers to start clinical trials of COVID-19 drug




Five Ukrainian pharmaceutical manufacturers are to begin clinical trials of drugs that could potentially treat COVID-19, Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health had previously allowed the trial use of the drug Bioven as a potential coronavirus treatment in five hospitals in Ukraine.

A total of 16,425 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 439 deaths have been reported in Ukraine as of Wednesday, while 3,716 patients have recovered, according to the country’s health ministry. Enitem


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India’s major pharmaceutical company launches prostate cancer drug at 70 pc lower price in domestic market




India’s Cadila Healthcare has launched a drug for treating prostate cancer at a significantly lower weekly therapy cost of 79 U.S. dollars, which is 70 percent less compared to the prevailing therapy cost in the domestic market, a company statement said Friday.

The drug, named Enzalutamide, launched under the brand name Obnyx, will be available in soft gelatin capsules at a monthly treatment cost of 357 U.S. dollars while the current maximum retail price prevailing in the market is between 926-1,058 U.S. dollars, the statement said.

In the United States, Enzalutamide is sold under the brand name Xtandi and is sold in several countries worldwide.

Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers in Indian males with one out of nine men having the risk of developing prostate cancer during their lifetime. The incidence is nearly 60 percent in men over 65 years of age, the statement said.

The drug reduces the effect of androgens (a male reproductive hormone) on prostate gland by blocking them and arresting the growth of prostate cancer cells.

With annual revenue of 913 million U.S. dollars, Cadila Healthcare is ranked 4th in the Indian pharmaceutical space with manufacturing facilities across five states in India as also in the United States and Brazil.


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Pharmaceutical industry looking into 145 potential Covid-19 therapies



More than 140 substances are being probed as pharmaceutical companies are racing to come up with medications to treat the coronavirus disease COVID-19, an industry umbrella group reported on Thursday.

Thomas Cueni, who heads the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) in Geneva, said among the potential treatments, 77 are drugs that were developed for other diseases, while 68 are being newly developed, said.

“We have a rich pipeline,” he told an online news briefing, adding that 25 companies had launched clinical trials.

Executives from major pharmaceutical companies stressed at the briefing that firms are collaborating and sharing data to speed up research and development.

“The industry, which is traditionally fiercely competitive, has come together,” Cueni said.

Companies are working on various approaches to fight the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 200,000 people since it started spreading from China late 2019.

While Pfizer is seeking a way to stop the virus from multiplying, CSL Behring and Takeda have joined forces to develop an immune therapy by combining antibodies from many recovered patients.

Others are banking on existing medicines.

AstraZeneca is working on trials of a blood cancer medication that is being tested to prevent lung failure in COVID-19 patients.

Sandoz is collecting data on its malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as it is being tested as a potential coronavirus treatment.

IFPMA pledged that the industry would work with governments to mass-produce treatments at affordable prices.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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WHO official calls for non-pharmaceutical interventions to contain Covid-19



Dr Fiona Braka, Officer-in-Charge of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, has called for Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions ( NPIs) in containing the COVID-19 in the country.

Braka told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the Federal and State Government had provided leadership for COVID-19 response.

She said more needed to be done at state levels as the cases continue to increase.

“The key areas of interventions required now are the NPIs.

“Non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene in addition to rigorous surveillance (case identification, laboratory diagnosis, contact tracing) and isolation and care for all confirmed cases,’’ the official said.

According to her, physical distancing is one of the recommended strategies for preventing human to human transmission.

Braka said the extension of 14 days of lockdown was a welcome idea as it would enhance psychical distancing.

“The lock down does facilitate physical distancing and is a welcome intervention.

“However, physical distancing alone will not stop the spread but needs to be combined with other recommended strategies: testing, isolation of patients, contact tracing and quarantine.’’

The official, however, said the WHO would continue to support Nigeria in its fight against COVID-19 and other diseases.

“WHO is supporting countries globally with response to the pandemic and from the WHO Regional Office for Africa, four experts have been deployed to Nigeria.

“Four experts have been deployed to Nigeria currently and remote support provided by experts from the WHO headquarters in Geneva and the Regional office in Brazzaville.

“These are in additional to an excellent team of public health experts who already work in all 36 States and the FCT, in the different WHO Nigeria offices.’’

In addition, she said:  “WHO’s extensive Polio Programme resources have already been re-purposed and deployed, and have been crucial in supporting all affected states to mount an initial response.

“Elsewhere in states that are yet to report any confirmed case, these resources are currently engaged in preparatory activities and surveillance.

“WHO will continue to support Nigeria throughout the response and even during the recovery phase,’’ the official said.

According to her, donor agencies and governments have been contributing to support WHO’s work in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic globally.

“Funds have been made available to WHO Nigeria through the Regional Office and Headquarters in Geneva which is financing the WHO’s current support to the response in Nigeria.

“We are also grateful to other partners who have supported WHO Nigeria directly.

“The United Nations in Nigeria has set up a Basket Fund that was recently inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF).

“Resources from the Basket Fund are supporting critical aspects of the response.’’

NAN report that no fewer than 542 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria, 166 cases treated and discharged with 19 deaths  as at Saturday, April 18.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa has risen to over 19,000, with over 4,416 recoveries and 991 deaths reported.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)


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Pharmaceutical coy donates anti-malaria drug worth N40m to Kaduna Govt. 



A coalition of 300 NGOs, under the auspices of the Nigeria Humanitarian Action (NIHA), has commended a Kaduna-based pharmaceutical company, Tradomed, for donating an anti-malaria drug worth N40 million to the state.

Mr Kleisaint Akor, National Convener of the NGO, who made the commendation in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, said the company donated 60,000 packs of the drug known as Tradomal.

Akor admonished other pharmaceutical companies to emulate Tradomed, whose gesture would go a long way in addressing some of the country’s vulnerable groups’ health challenges.

He described the donation as ‘necessary and valued’ if it met the needs of those intended for.

According to Akor, malaria is no doubt the most common sickness in Nigeria and most times not affordable to many.

He said in some cases, it was often difficult to get a drug that was very effective and affordable for malaria treatment like tradamol, which was made in form of tea for easy consumption.

The convener of the NGO explained that the drug was delivered to the Kaduna State Government by Tradomed officials, led by Alhaji Abba Goji, Vice Chairman and Mr Charles Ihenacho, Managing Director.

He also said the drug was received by Mr Mohammed Shuaibu, Permanent Secretary Kaduna State Ministry of Health, who expressed appreciation to he company for the donation.

Akor said that during the presentation of the drug, Goji said the world was currently focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and paying less attention to other diseases, such as malaria, that were equally killing a large number of people.

“’So in this battle for good health, Tradomed is taking it upon itself to donate its products as a corporate social responsibility and to assist the people,” he said.

Goji said that the gesture would be replicated across the 36 states of the federation.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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