Irked by the plight of Nigerians living with HIV and dwindling donor funds, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Transparency International, TI, Nigeria have raised the alarm over alleged irregularities in the procurement process of Anti-retroviral, ARV, drugs by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA.

They noted that fraudulent contractors inflate the prices of the ARV drugs by over 50 percent even as they expressed worry that the practice is currently sabotaging NACA’s efforts to correct the anomalies by buying directly from the drug manufacturers.

Speaking in Lagos, the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, called on President Mohammadu Buhari to intervene so as to ensure total reform in the procurement process.

“CISLAC and TI Nigeria gathered that the contractors currently sell the anti-retroviral drugs at $13 per patient as against $7 given by the manufacturers.

“These exorbitant prices quoted by existing contractors renders government financially incapacitated to adequately provide for, and make ARV drugs accessible across health care facilities, which record resultant stockouts, health hazards, and relapse of illnesses.”

Musa lamented what he described as unchecked attitudes of the fraudulent contractors, whose unlawful activities hitherto dominate the procurement process even as he commended the recent decision by NACA to purchase ARV drugs directly from the manufacturers at half the cost quoted by contractors and middlemen.

“While we acknowledge NACA’s plan to establish HIV Trust Fund driven by the private sector to support existing efforts of the government, we observe that without current support by the US Government and the Global Fund, it would cost Nigeria N50 billion to treat one million people living with HIV annually.