he Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled guidelines for its Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) and fixed the maximum limit eligible for development/manufacturing activities at N500 million.
However, under the HSRDIS, the maximum grant limit for research was pegged at N50 million.
In a seven-page circular obtained on its website yesterday, CBN said the initiative was part of its policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is to finance research and development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of infectious diseases in the country.
The scheme is to be funded from the CBN’s developmental component of its N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF) and disbursement shall be made to beneficiaries in tranches subject to approved milestones achieved.
The bank stated that the HSRDIS was designed to trigger intense national R&D activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine as well as drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or non-communicable diseases through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes for the research and development of drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
The scheme is to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing cost of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines.
The broad objectives of the scheme, according to the CBN, include providing grants for R&D in new or revalidation of drug molecule, phytomedicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria; boosting domestic manufacturing of validated drugs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients or APIs), herbal medicines and vaccines for the control, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in Nigeria; and reducing the nation’s dependence on other countries for these drugs and vaccines.
Others include improving the capacity of biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes in the development of approved Nigerian drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines for infectious diseases and supporting capacity of relevant health agencies towards attaining World Health Organisation (WHO) Maturity Level 3. The WHO’s recommendation is a prerequisite for manufacturing of vaccines in Nigeria.