The price of Paracetamol, a popular over the counter painkiller in Nigeria, rose by 275 per cent in four years.
This is according to a report by SB Morgen titled ‘Paying the price on health.’
Data from the report showed that the price of Paracetamol which was N40 in 2019, has risen to N150 in 2023.
It noted that Paracetamol by the local manufacturing firm, Emzor, recorded the highest price increase among other painkillers.
“Of all the brands considered in this category, Emzor is the only local manufacturer. Their Paracetamol brand also accounted for the highest rate of cost and selling price increase, growing by over 450% and 250%, respectively, since 2019.
“This may be due to the strong brand presence that Paracetamol has built as a painkiller amongst the populace, thereby giving the manufacturer room to transfer rising production costs to the end user.”
A year-on-year analysis showed that the price of 500mg of Paracetamol rose by 25 per cent in 2020, 60 per cent in 2021, 25 per cent in 2022, and 50 per cent in 2023.
SB Morgen further identified different categories of medicines aside from painkillers, including common cold medicines, antibiotics, and antimalarials.
The report stated that in the common cold medicines category, Actifed had the highest cost and selling prices from 2019 to 2023 due to reasons, such as the brand’s goodwill built over the years and the foreign factor of the company’s production process, making it vulnerable to forex volatility.
The highest jump in the cost and selling prices were recorded for antibiotics, across all drug categories, it further noted, adding that the cost price of Ampiclox recorded the highest rate of increase between 2022 and 2023, rising by 346 percentage points.
Amoxil recorded the fastest rate of increase for selling price, jumping by over 400 percentage points within the same one-year period.
For the antimalarials, Lonart DS recorded the highest cost and selling price increase, jumping by 110 percent and 92.3 percent, respectively, in the four years between 2019 and 2023.
The report quoted a pharmaceutical professor at the University of Lagos, Boladele Silva, to have stated that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry is highly exposed to shocks from foreign exchange volatility.
“In Nigeria, what we have are packaging hubs. The active pharmaceutical ingredients and most excipients used by the manufacturers are imported. That makes them very vulnerable to economic shocks.
“The rising cost of drugs in Nigeria has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the borders of the country. It threatens to exacerbate global health challenges by reducing access to essential medicines, increasing the spread of diseases, and undermining international health security.
“The high cost of drugs in Nigeria is forcing patients to skip doses or forgo treatment altogether based on anecdotal observations. This can lead to the development of drug resistance, making it more difficult to treat infections. It can also worsen chronic conditions, leading to increased morbidity and mortality.
“When patients are unable to afford essential medicines, they may resort to self-treatment or seek treatment from unlicensed practitioners, a development observed right across the country. This can lead to the inappropriate use of antibiotics, which contributes to the development of drug resistance. It can also increase the spread of infectious diseases as untreated patients continue to shed pathogens,” it added.