Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, the Director-General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRID), on Sunday said the institute had commenced the production of NIPRISAN, a sickle cell management drug.
Sickle cell anaemia management drugs were produced initially under the name `NICOSAN’ but their production stopped in 2008 after the production company, Xechem International, was declared bankrupt.
Gamaniel said a number of court cases had hampered the production of the drugs over time.
“Now, you can get NIPRISAN if you need it. The last time it was selling between N10,000 and N15,000 for a bottle of 30 capsules.
“But today NIPRID is giving it directly to patients who need it, based on consent, at the rate of N3,000.
He said while the medicine was only available now at the institute’s headquarters in Abuja, plans were underway to extend availability to other facilities before the end of 2013.
Gamaniel said NIPRID had however received a lot of support from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), adding that funding had been a major setback.
“What the Minister of Health (Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu) is saying is that we can continue the production on a pilot scale for six months or one year,” he said, describing NIPRISAN as a combination of medicine which is predominantly food items that works better when they are together.