Hike in drug prices caused by exchange rate dangerous — NMA

Babatunde Rosiji

The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Ekiti State Branch, Dr Babatunde Rosiji, has lamented that the high exchange rate is taking a toll on the health of Nigerians as the cost of drugs and medical supplies has gone beyond the reach of average citizens.

Rosiji said, “Patients on medications for chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes are finding it difficult to access an uninterrupted supply of drugs, just as patients are not finding it easy to present early to the hospitals for economic reasons”.

The NMA chairman, who spoke at a press conference in Ekiti, to commemorate the 2023 Physicians’ Week, urged governments to move swiftly to avoid the unimaginable.

Rosiji said, “While health insurance is beginning to take root, the price of drugs in the insurance scheme is out of touch with current realities. If this continues unchecked, your guess is as good as mine.”

He also called on the government to reverse plans to stop funding of Medical and Dental Council from next year in a bid to avert disaster.

The job of MDCN, which is regulation of medical and dental practice is so important that funding it by the government is appropriate. If we stop funding the MDCN, I wonder who will want to do it. Probably the doctors and dentists will take over funding a body that regulates and may punish them if necessary,” he said.

The NMA chairman, who said the brain drain in the sector hurt the health and families of doctors, expressed hope that “the community we serve will recognize this and appreciate the few hands remaining rather than antagonize and fight them.

“We as an association are exploring all peaceful avenues towards securing some economic reprieve for our beloved members. Despite the increased workload occasioned by the worsening brain drain, our members across all the hospitals have taken it upon themselves to provide clinical services that are rendered seamlessly.

“I must single out the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, for his dogged commitment and resolve towards making the health sector in Ekiti State work.

“While we have made a resolve to toe the path of advocacy and dialogue in the interest of Ekiti people, we have been equally blessed with a governor who has listening ears and who is accommodating of positive ideas,” Rosiji submitted.

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