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80% of pharmaceutical outlets illegal, say Pharmacists

…describe NHIS as a fraud

By Etop Ekanem
TO save the citizenry from avoidable health hazards, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, has called on the Federal Government and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, to close all illegal pharmaceutical outlets as a matter of urgency.

The ACPN decried indiscriminate opening of pharmaceutical outlets in the country, stating that 80 per cent of the outlets were illegal.

National Chairman of ACPN Dr Ejiro Foyibo spoke Tuesday in Lagos at a press briefing on the annual conference of the association, tagged: “Living Spring 2010″ with the theme: “Politics & Ethical Practice: A challenge to the Community Pharmacy” holding in Osogbo, Osun State from June 7-12, 2010.

The pharmacists, who also described the operation and implementation of the Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as faulty and fraudulent,  said further delay in closing the illegal outlets was dangerous.

Lamenting that for every 10 pharmaceutical outlets in the country, about eight are illegal, the ACPN advised the public not to buy drugs from any pharmaceutical premises that does not have the pharmacy emblem, that is the Rx sign, saying it is a sign of genuine and quality drugs/medicines, professionalism/pharmaceutical care service, health education and drug information, counselling and proper use of drugs.

On the NHIS, Foyibo said it was unfortunate that the scheme was not addressing the problems of healthcare funding, that would make healthcare accessible, qualitative and affordable to Nigerians, as planned.

According to her, “today, the reverse is the case. I boldly say that NHIS is a fraud. The pharmacists, physiotherapists, laboratory technicians have all been sidelined in the operation of the NHIS.

“A situation where consultations, prescription, laboratory investigations, physiotherapy and dispensing of drugs are carried out by the same person is not in the best interest of the patient. It is unethical and exploitative.

“Nigerians who are enrollees of the NHIS should rise and ask questions on the functionality of the NHIS. We, as pharmacists, say no to global capitation.”


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