By CHIOMA OBINNA
Irked by the chaotic drug distribution in Nigeria, community pharmacists in the country have tasked the Federal Government to speedily implement the nation’s drug distribution guidelines towards repositioning confidence in the pharmaceutical sector.
Speaking in Lagos on the 2012 Annual conference tagged “Health Sector Goals in Nigeria: The Role of the Community Pharmacist”, which opened in Port Harcourt yesterday, National Chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Mrs. Ejiro Oyovwin-Foyibo, lamented the nation’s drug distribution system saying that medicine in Nigeria has become an article of trade.
She said drug distribution in Nigeria is so bad that drugs are sold in buses, shops, malls, road side, open market, etc without unguarded control by health authorities.
While this trend not only expose Nigerians to counterfeit medicines, Foyibo tasked Nigerians to purchase drugs from registered pharmacies with the emblem of the “RX” sign as is the case in most developed nations.
“The country’s pharmaceutical industry is today battling with the ills of counterfeit medicines which had done incalculable damage to the health of Nigerians and the nation’s economy.
“The yet to be implemented drug distribution guidelines stipulate that drugs in the country are sold at mega drug distribution companies and State drug distribution companies for easy tracking and to get rid of fake drugs in the system. This is why the National Drug Distribution Guidelines by the Federal Government if implemented will augur well for the practice of pharmacy profession and ensure safety to the general public who consume such drugs.
“In South Africa, drugs get into two companies for drug distribution through licenced channels to the public. This practice discourages sale of essential drugs in addressing hypertension, diabetes, etc.”
Continuing, Foyibo who pointed out that the importance of vaccination cannot be over emphasised announced that pharmacists are taking active role in immunisation by way of advocating and stocking vaccines in community pharmacies known as “Neighbourhood Vaccine Access Point.”
“ACPN collaborated with GlaxoSmithKline to initiate a scheme whereby participating pharmacies across the country are provided with infrastructures for vaccine cold storage for ease of purchase by hospitals and clinics. This is a means of further increasing the much needed access to vaccine against diseases such as cervical cancer, chicken pox, Hepatitis A and B, typhoid fever, measles, mumps, rubella and ultimately improve the healthcare of the nation,” Foyibo concluded.