By Chioma Obinna
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Lagos Branch, say Nigerians will only have access to safe medicines when the channels of drug distribution in the country are secured appropriately.
Making the declaration in Lagos last week during the Association’s annual Continuing Education, CME, conference tagged: “Safe Medicines for Nigerians By Community Pharmacists: Ethics and Business Consideration”, Chairman of the branch, Pharm. Aminu Abdulsalam-Yinka, called for appropriate channels of drug distribution.
“The only way to do this is to engage qualified professionals, who are the pharmacists to get involved in the distribution.
“There is no way we can have access to safe medicines when distribution is irrational. Today, medicines are displayed in awkward places and sell like biscuits, there is no way these things will persist that we can have good control of medicines in Nigeria and there is no way we can guarantee that Nigerians will be exposed to safe use of medicines,” he stated.
Abdulsalam-Yinka who stressed the need for the distribution to be structured, challenged the regulatory bodies to step up efforts to ensure that the laws guiding drug distributions are obeyed, argued that the laws are clear but the problem is implementation.
“If the Federal government supports the regulatory bodies especially Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria, PCN, there will be a way to have a better practice in Nigeria and patients will be able to have adequate pharmaceutical care as well as having access to safe medicines. There is need for government to empower regulatory bodies to have all it takes to challenge and control irrational display of drugs in the country,” he stressed.
Former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, Pharm. Anthony Akhimien urged Federal government to review the current operative system of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS to enable pharmacists operate effectively.
“The problem of illegal and unregistered pharmacist is getting out of hand day in day out and I think we need NAFDAC to do more in eradicating them” Akhimien said.
In her lecture entitled; “Managing common infections in children” Dr. Edem Duke advised parents to always be observant and guide against self- medication in order not to put the lives of children at risk.