By Chioma Obinna
Worried by the delay in the full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, NDDG, launched February 2013, Community pharmacists have urged the Federal Government to commence action on the issue without delay.
The pharmacists under the auspices of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, cautioned that foreign investors granted access to retail pharmacy, should comply with provisions of the existing laws that guide community pharmacy practice in Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos, the National Chairman of ACPN, Dr Pharm, Olufemi Adebayo said holistic implementation of the NDDG will solve the long standing problem of chaotic drug distribution in Nigeria.
“We are all aware that medicines are on the excusive lists, the implementation of this document lies on the presidency not on any of the agencies. We will appreciate if the Federal Government will encourage all stakeholders to see that the NDDG is implemented to the letter.”
Adebayo said government needs to put structures in place that would encourage total compliance, because from the organogram of the drug distribution, the onus of implementation lies on the government, since the importer has to sell directly to state drug distribution centre and a mega drug distribution centre, even though many states are yet to establish centres.
“In Nigeria today, only Ekiti and Kano states have State Drug Distribution Centres. All other states have not taken off.
“Where drugs should not be sold, drugs should not be there. By the time one or more companies are sanctioned I believe everybody will fall in line.
“A clause in the NDDG is that if you want to be a mega drug distribution centre you must have offices in all the states or at least one in each of the six geo-political zones. That is, if I am in Maiduguri, I should be able to access drugs like someone in Lagos and at the same price. If there is a problem with a particular product it can be traced easily.”
He called on government to develop a policy that will make fund available to community pharmacists at a single -digit interest rate, and also appealed for improved funding for regulators of pharmaceutical practice such as the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN and NAFDAC.
“We expect PCN to monitor registered premises and we also implore NAFDAC to be more effective in controlling influx of unregistered products without proper documentation.”
National Secretary, Pharm. Afuye Adeoye urged the President elect to direct NAFDAC to shut down all illegal drug premises in the country from 1994 till date and come up with policies and regulations that must be adhered to.
“The President elect should look into the job prescription of health professionals and ensure that everybody maintains their lane. Prescription plays a major role in healthcare delivery.
The forthcoming ACPN National Conference holds 31st May through June 5th , 2015 in Akure, Ondo State with the theme: “Exploring New Frontiers in Community Pharmacy Practice”.