By Sola Ogundipe
FORMER Minister of Information and one time Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, ProfessorDora Akunyili, has charged the Federal Government to be proactive in its campaign for safe drugs for Nigerians by implementing policies that support the concept of “access to safe medicine”’ in line withrecommendations of World Health Organisation, WHO.
Akunyili, a pharmacist, who spoke during the 85th annual national conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, “Ogun 2012”, which opened in Abeokuta, Ogun State, last week, urged Government, health care professionals and all patriotic Nigerians to unite to ensure that Nigerians have access to safe medicines and good health. In her presentation entitled “Safe Medicines for Nigerians – Who
Cares?”, she said: “Governments, health professionals and health
policy-makers should be aware of the increasing needs of Nigerians for safe medicines. It is in fact a right and should never be viewed as an act of charity. Government must be proactive.”
Urging pharmacists to take the bull by the horn and lead this campaign, Akunyili said a proactive approach would express and enshrine government values and commitments and will create a supportive environment for promoting and enforcing access to safe drugs for Nigerians. “When health systems fail and collapse, it constitutes a grave
obstacle to increasing access to safe medicines,” she argued. In order to improve access to safe medicines in Nigeria, I would humbly suggest the strengthening of our healthcare system. This includes increased funding and adequate management system. It has been shown that access to safe medicines depends on effective, integrated, responsive and accessible health systems.”
She said: “Pharmacists must be involved in formulating health and drug policies, particularly those on the selection, procurement and distribution of drugs. The regulatory bodies especially Pharmacists Council of Nigeria should step up its inspection and regulatory activities.
In her message, Akunyili traced the concept of safe medicines as one that has been in the fore front of global health concerns for some time now.
“It is a priority for WHO, national medicines regulatory Authorities and other key stakeholders in the health sector. The
overall goal of an efficient healthcare delivery system is to ensure a healthy population. This cannot be achieved without the component of safe medicines which is paramount to patient safety.”