JOHANNESBURG – Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has given approval to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NAPRED) and May and Baker Plc to scale up the commercialisation and marketing of Niprisan, an anti-sickle cell drug for the treatment of sickle cell patients.

The Premium Times reported that on Wednesday, Minister of Health Isaac Adewole confirmed the move while addressing reporters at the end of an FEC meeting, held inside the council chamber of the Presidential Villa, in the capital Abuja.

FEC gave the licensing agreement to NAPRED and May and Baker Plc to produce the drugs on a commercial scale in a bid to reduce the spread of the disease in Africa and other parts of the world where it is common.

Sickle cell disease is common in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. 

An estimated 25 percent of Nigeria’s population carries the sickle cell gene and over two million people have sickle cell anemia which is a combination of the two genes.

When the immune system of those prone to the disease is under stress, or they fall ill, they develop severe bone complications, infection which sometimes leads to their death.

- African News Agency