By Chioma Obinna
As the battle against importation of fake drugs in the country, Nigerian pharmacists have declared that more friendly policies from the government at all levels is due as part of strategies to assist stakeholders in the pharmaceutical world to meet their obligations to the people.
Declaring this during its 2010 Pharmacy Week, Chairman of the Lagos branch of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Pharm. Anieh Felix Anieh identified mandatory restriction of pharmaceutical activities on sanitation days amidst the essential nature of such services and burden of multiple-taxation, from local authorities.
Anieh stressed that community pharmacists deserve better treatment like their other colleagues in the healthcare sector, noting that they are frequently harassed during the weekly Thursday sanitation exercises in Local Government Areas in Lagos State.
â€œPharmacists should be seen as professionals and not any other trader. We dispense medicines, either the Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescriptions written by doctors. This we do by thoroughly counselling our patients. Pharmacists are therefore an integral part of the health team.
â€œOrdinarily, community pharmacists are supposed to be open 24 hours as we have in Ghana, but for our security situation hence the present mode of operation.
â€œFor instance, if someone has asthmatic attack and needs an emergency medication like an inhaler, do we have to wait till 10 a.m. before we attend to such patient? The answer is no, if we want the patient to live.â€
Erstwhile President of the PSN, Sir Anthony Akhimien said although the Association encourages good sanitary practices, but it is unsatisfactory that pharmacists have been closed down on the allegation of poor environment.
â€œPharmacies have been closed down because of dirty environment, to which no hospital will be so treated. We must treat pharmacists as health care facilities that are very important to the community.â€
PSN President, Pharm Azubike Okwor, further added that with the global importance of pharmacists and their indispensable role in the healthcare sector and community, the practice.
â€œWe are trying to get pharmacists to open for 24 hours in each zone that people can access medicine at anytime of the day. Pharmacists should also be allowed to operate professionally and freely too even on sanitation days, without undermining the need for good sanitary condition.â€