…Writes UK, Nigeria Government
Since the reporting of a strategic but forced take over plan of GSK Consumer Nigeria shares by the News Media, Concerned Groups have shared their heightened anxiety about the current drugs supply shortage and its implication on the average Nigerian patient.
Speaking to the regional distribution manager for a major pharmaceutical retail chain who pleaded anonymity, he claimed that they have never experienced drug shortage of critical medicines and vaccines like this from GSK in the past.
“It is indeed very shocking that a global pharmaceutical company that prides itself in being ambitious for patients would tactically starve Nigerians of its life saving drugs just to make more profit. As I speak to you, we have no stock of critical GSK Medicines and vaccines, this has persisted for over 2 months and the limited stocks in the market are being sold for over 200 and 250% of the recommended retail prices.
“It does not take rocket science to realize that without drugs and vaccines from GSK International, GSK Nigeria is rendered useless and as such can be sold or discarded cheaply by GSK international. As a doctor, I really do not care if GSK wants to leave Nigeria like it has done in other African countries, I am really worried about my patients that I have convinced with information from GSK to use their drugs and now they have wickedly decided to stop supply of these critical medicines and vaccines just to achieve their selfish aim of more profit. Who does this in democratic society?
“Why wont NAFDAC, Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Trade and Investment not call GSK international to order? Can they do this to fellow Europeans? Never! As a doctor that has practiced in Europe and returned to Nigeria, I am sickened that basic medication like Ventolin is now so scarce that patients are paying 200% the original prices to manage their asthma.
“Why won’t the UK foreign office call GSK international to order? The UK is Nigeria’s leading trading partner and these actions amount to gross wickedness and profiteering by a pharmaceutical company at the expense of the citizens of Africa’s largest economy. The government has to call them to order “
Speaking to one of the leaders of an independent shareholder group, he praised the reporters for being bold enough to report on the unprofessional conduct of GSK international and hoped the local board led by Chief E. Onuzo was resisting their plans.
“I am an active shareholder of GSK Consumer Nigeria plc and I was at the last AGM and previous AGMs where we have had to vote to retain GSK international as a business partner. I find it very dubious and fraudulent that GSK international would deliberately frustrate GSK Nigeria’s effort to secure forex for its operations only to stop supplying them important medicines and vaccines with a long-term aim of devaluing GSK Nigeria PLC shares for an easy takeover.
” I actually find it disgraceful as they tried a similar move in 2013 and we fought against it and they had to beat a shameful retreat only to come back with this new move. I have done a quick survey and I am shocked that GSK drugs and vaccines are no longer on the shelves. How can a company that reported profit last year be unable to import critical medicines and vaccines this year?
“Can they not get forex at the parallel market? Or secure loans from their parent company to continue supply of critical medicines? I smell a fraud aimed at GSK International profiting from a potential take over and implementation of a new distributor model like they have done in Kenya, Ghana, Cote-D-Ivoire and other African Countries.
“They must realize that Africa is a continent on the cusp of owning its own drug and vaccines supply architecture and can not rely on any European country to determine its access to critical medicines and vaccines.
“Firstly, I would like to call on the Federal Consumer & Competition protection Commission (FCPC), NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health to call for an immediate review of the current forced medicines supply crisis of GSK and the implication on the GSK Consumer Nigeria business entity. Failure to act would mean that shareholders would have to seek redress in the Courts as they cannot take us for granted.
“We have jointly built these brands for over 40 years and we would want GSK Nigeria (which is owned majorly by us) to survive and produce more medicines and vaccines for Nigerians and for export. I also hope the UK Ambassador to Nigeria and the UK foreign office calls GSK international to order as an induced medicine supply crisis driven by profit could damage the very good UK-Nigeria relationship.
“The National Movement for the Actualization of Good Governance (NAMAGG), a Premium Group of Nigerian Professionals , made up of Lawyers , Doctors , Engineers , Journalists , Pharmacists , et Al, has also thrown its weight behind Nigerian Shareholders.
“In a Statement issued in Lagos , Nigeria on Tuesday 23rd May , 2023 on the issue ,the National President of the Movement for the Actualization of Good Governance , Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., states :
“We have followed with concern the attempt of GSK International working with Nigerian Collaborators to forcefully devalue the shares of GSK Nigeria by manipulating the supply of critical medicines and vaccines to GSK Consumer Nigeria Ltd. We have monitored the actions of GSK across Africa and are convinced that this recent supply constriction by a related party is aimed at devaluing the shares of the company with a plan to shut it down and turn Nigeria to into an import hub for its drugs.
” It is really disgraceful from a global company that prides itself as a leading pharmaceutical company to disregard Africans and our desire to become medicines and vaccines sufficient. Instead, they want us to remain dependent on our colonial masters for critical medicines supply.
“This is very personal for me, as my relatives and family friends are asthmatic and they are currently unable to get asthma medication – Ventolin for themselves. If this is not racism, then tell me what else can be used to explain this level of disregard for Nigerians and Africans? I can tell you for free that young girls who have taken the cervarix vaccine from GSK are unsure when their second dose will be available.
“How can a foreign company treat Nigerians like this? I really hope the Federal government can call them to order as no Nigerian should suffer for GSK international and their Nigerian management team’s love profit at the expense of Nigerians. In my view this is blood money and like blood diamonds, the Nigerian and the UK governments should call GSK international and their management in Nigeria to order immediately.
“We are more concerned about the fate of Nigerian Patients, who currently are unable to afford lifesaving medicines and vaccines produced by GSK. ”
“A local drugs manufacturer who spoke to us under anonymity also shared his frustration with GSK Nigeria. “This is a company that has made over N10billion in profit from Nigeria over the last ten years. They have refused to invest in manufacturing in Nigeria or other parts of Africa. We thought they had changed from their segregative ways by partnering with a local manufacturer to contract manufacture some of their drugs in Nigeria.
“With this new move, that celebrated agreement comes to nothing because with a potential shut down of the GSK consumer Nigeria business, the contract with Fidson will be nullified and they will turn to import Panadol into Nigeria.
“Can you imagine an international company like GSK or its partner Haleon importing basic Panadol (paracetamol) into Nigeria? Do these companies mean well for Nigeria or Africa? Until we take our destiny into our hands and get the Nigerian Government to call the UK trade office get GSK to change its current plans, we will be import dependent.
” How can a company that is majorly owned by Nigerians not be able to manufacture some of its medicines in Africa? There are several legal framework like the Nigerian Local Content Development Act , the Company and Allied Matters Act , (CAMA ),2020, Cap C20,LFN, the Investment and Security Act ,(ISA) and the Nigerian Government must stand to be counted at this time. Sadly, if NAFDAC is serious and intends to implement its 5+5 policy, GSK should not be able to implement this drug supply shortage action aimed at frustrating Nigerian shareholders and patients.
“How can a related party that is a minority, force majority to sell their shares by limiting supply of their products? If GSK wants to leave Nigeria and Africa, it can sell its shares to Nigerians whilst GSK Consumer Nigeria PLC maintains distribution of its medicines and vaccines for the next 5 years till the local entity has partnered with other pharmaceutical companies. GSK cannot treat Nigeria like Kenya and other African countries as it does not own majority shares of GSK Consumer Nigeria PLC.
“I truly hope GSK is not trying to implement an exit from Nigeria by stopping medicines and vaccines supply as it will amount to manipulation and possibly related party fraud at the detriment of Nigerian shareholders. We are monitoring them closely as they pride themselves as a company that follow the UK ABAC and US FCPA laws.”