A News Analysis by Felicia Imohimi, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Some stakeholders in pharmaceutical sector observe that indiscriminate and uncontrolled drug distribution channels remain a major challenge in the sector.
Mr Elijah Mohammed, the Registrar of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, said “due to the chaotic unregulated drug distribution channels, the industry became an all comers’ affair.
“Non-professionals both literate and illiterates, young and old go to the business or industry to make money or rather see it as a money making venture’’.
He called on other stakeholders to ensure that the World Pharmacists Day on every September 25 is used to sensitise the public to the dangers of patronising quacks in the industry.
According to him, seeing unprofessional or unregistered open drugs marketers who hawk drugs at different locations across the country is worrisome.
“Such unprofessional conduct or dispensing of drugs could invariably deform some vital organs in their clients body and can eventually lead to death and at the long.
“It is often said that drug is not an article for trade or avenue for revenue or for people to make money.
“However, a lot of people in quest for money, indulge in one pharmaceutical trade or the other, dispensing and administering wrong, fake, adulterated and substandard drugs’’.
Mohammed attributed the menace to the deregulation of the Patent Proprietary Medicines Vendors by which licensing authority of the vendors was given to the local government councils.
“But the current drive towards the full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines next year would greatly address drug distribution system.
“This will ensure well-ordered drug distributions that guarantee access to medicines that are of high quality, affordable and very effective.
“ Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is therefore refocusing on the education, training and enlightenment of practitioners in the pharmaceutical landscape.
“It is imperative to infuse the right attitude which will help the professional imbibe the right spirit and philosophy of pharmacy practice.
“Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, in line with its mandates, has also deployed several strategies to ensure that all the regulated stakeholders — pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, patent and proprietary medicine vendors, among others in the sector — are licensed and continually trained on the job to enhance professional practice and skills.
“We also ensure the premises where they carry out their activities are registered, monitored and supervised while also ensuring that the practice is appropriately regulated and controlled.
“These efforts would guarantee that practitioner’s provide quality pharmaceutical service delivery in registered and monitored premises, thereby promoting sustainable healthcare delivery for the citizenry,’’ Mohammed noted.
Similarly, Mr Sunday Ike, National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, noted that in addition to the purpose of the World Pharmacists Day, the day sensitised the public to who pharmacists are and their roles in healthcare services.
“Pharmacists are trained to produce drugs in the area of research and they are also trained in the area of patients’ counseling.
“Pharmacy, like every other profession, is evolving as the world is dynamic so every profession is dynamic.
“A pharmacist by training has a prerequisite knowledge about drugs; he is a compendium of drug information and; in healthcare team, a source of information for every other member of the healthcare team as regard drug and its usage.
“So it starts from the diagnosis done by doctors until the patient takes the drug and his condition improved.
“If drugs are to be managed and taken adequately, we need an expert opinion and in this case, a pharmacist.
“This is simply because pharmacist is an expert who owns you the duty to educate you and it pays you better to be patient.
“So, be open and listen to your pharmacists so that the purpose of taking your drugs will not be defeated,’’ he advised.