Dr Malam Souley, Niger
Until February 1997, date of enactment of the pharmaceutical law, the drug market in Niger was controlled by the National Office for Pharmaceutical Products and Chemicals (ONPPC). This state office enjoyed the monopoly for importation and distribution of drugs, and medical and surgical materials throughout the country.
Confronted with an economic crisis and the devaluation of the local currency, the Government decided to restructure and partially privatize the ONPPC, and three sectors were created:
• The National Office for Pharmaceutical Products and Chemicals (ONPPC).
• The National Laboratory of Public Health and Expertise (LANSPEX).
• The Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industries Company (AONIPHAR).
Within the same pharmaceutical law, two private wholesalers were created to improve availability of medicines. They are the Centralpharm, a limited company, and Copharni, a commercial company.
However, in spite of government efforts to provide drugs of quality, efficacy and sufficient safety at low cost to the population, there has been a proliferation of illicit drugs. The authorities are now elaborating a plan of action based on an analysis of the situation, and a survey of the products on the market in an effort to control this problem.