Lagos To Establish Medicines Regulatory Agency

From R Professor Akin Abayomi Commissioner for Health Lagos State

The Lagos State Government has disclosed plans to establish a medicine regulatory agency.

According to the state government, the essence of establishing the agency known as the Lagos State Essential Medicines Agency (LSEMA) is to ensure seamless management and distribution of essential medicines within the state.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, on Wednesday, at a ministerial press briefing to mark the first year of the second term in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The commissioner explained that the establishment of LSEMA is aimed at transforming the management and distribution of essential medicines, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate for every state to set up a drug management agency.

“The establishment of a Drug Management Agency is designed to address significant challenges in the supply chain by introducing a structured and technologically-driven approach to the procurement, storage, and distribution of health commodities,” Abayomi said.

Some of the benefits of having the agency, he highlighted include, robust regulation of medicine flow, improved access to quality drugs, enhanced health planning data, and increased internal revenue generation through efficient drug sales.

The commissioner also noted that the application of economies of scale during bulk purchases would help maintain stable prices for essential medicines regardless of economic fluctuations.

“We are now at the stage where we are beginning to track the need for a medical drug agency for Lagos State to make sure we control the prices of drugs with economies of scale and bulk purchasing, improve the quality of drugs in Lagos by providing additional quality assessment of the drugs that are brought into Lagos, and to improve the efficiency of movement of drugs through our facilities so that we will never have a situation of stock out,” Abayomi said.

While emphasizing the importance of public-private partnerships, he stated that LSEMA would leverage productive partnerships with the private sector to enhance operational capacities.

The regulatory agency is expected to ensure close cooperation with national regulatory bodies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to maintain strict quality standards for all essential medicines distributed within the state.

“Recognising the value of collaboration, LSEMA will leverage Public-Private Partnerships to enhance operational capacities. This approach will combine public oversight with private sector efficiency and creativity, particularly in areas such as logistics and the day-to-day management of drug supplies,” he stated.

On the challenges around the supply chain of essential medicines, Abayomi said: “We envision a system where every Lagosian has access to quality healthcare, supported by efficient, technology-driven management systems, and a clear, comprehensive referral system. Our efforts are guided by the vision of developing a robust, egalitarian, and liberal health system that ensures equitable access and freedom of choice for all residents.”