West Africa's most populous country offers pharmaceutical companies a vast playing field, from manufacturing to retail.

Bhushan Akshikar

General Manager, GSK

We have always had a manufacturing presence in Nigeria. Currently we manufacture some of our products locally but still depend on imports for our vaccines and antibiotics businesses. We will continue to review our localization plans to ensure that we can serve the Nigerian patient effectively. We are one of the few companies in Nigeria with over 200 representatives reaching out to doctors not just in the larger cities but in the interior as well. Apart from branded products, we also launched an access portfolio that is substantially more affordable. We have created a separate portfolio and an access team that brings medicine at a different price point without compromising on quality. We are also leveraging technology in a big way to reach out to physicians in the interiors of Nigeria. We no longer have to travel to the interior of the country because of our email database to connect to physicians and nurses. Nigeria is on the cusp of its transformation.

Abderrahmane Chakibi

CEO, Sanofi

The economy in 2016 was not particularly favorable in general. However, despite the challenges, we never gave up; rather, we strengthened our team and improved our strategies. We stuck to our belief that it is in difficult times we can truly gauge the capability and resilience of our people. So, the benefit this has brought to the market is that we have remained committed to our priority of increasing access to medicines by making our brands more affordable. Because the country's population is rapidly growing, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, is also increasing rapidly. For these diseases and other conditions, we have adapted our launch strategy to sustain affordability and access to our products. This helps the product to be affordable to many consumers. 2017 promises to be another good year where we are looking at strong double-digit growth of about 35%. Having two consecutive years of strong growth is really tremendous.

Nnamdi Okafor

Managing Director, May & Baker

It helps that the government is working to solve the problems that we have spoken about for 10-15 years. We are glad the government is doing something to address these issues. We are the first pharmaceutical company in Nigeria to introduce Western medicines, and we have also sought to be at the forefront of developments in the industry. We are also among the first companies to commence local production of pharmaceuticals. When the AIDS epidemic hit, we were among the first to take up the challenge and built a facility to produce HIV vaccines. We looked at the quality of vaccines coming into Nigeria and felt there was a need for improvement in standards. Hence, we invested in our pharma center, a manufacturing facility that is comparable to any in the world. A country the size of Nigeria should be able to manufacture the products that sustain the health of its citizens.

Mark Wagstaff

Country Manager, Pfizer Nigeria

We are consistently improving and increasing our health portfolios thereby providing access to quality medicines for unmet patient needs. We are working on an innovative and commercially sustainable model to improve access to medicines by partnering with public and private institutions like NGOs, NHIS, and HMOs to address and improve access to affordable and quality medicines. We are also doing a great deal more in retail pharmacies in the area of capacity building. We are improving on some existing products in key therapeutic areas for expanded use and advocating for more government investment in healthcare and improved distribution system. With an improved drug distribution chain and appropriate incentives structure, the private sector supply chain will deliver products to even the remotest areas. Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to be one of the fastest growing regions for the next five to 10 years, and Nigeria is particularly attractive.