By Yinka Ajayi
The Federal Government has been enjoined to provide funds for universities to carry out research into personalized medicine in order to stem the tide of increasing deaths arising from adverse reactions to drug use.
Making the appeal in a key note speech delivered at the 14th Annual National Conference and Scientific Meeting of Nigeria Association of Pharmacists In Academia, NAPA, which took place at Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo Universiy, Sagamu, Ogun State, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Prof. (Mrs) Chinedum Peace Babalola, noted that the increasing fatalities as a result of adverse reaction to drug use can be averted through personalized medicine.
While saying that drugs and human beings that take them are unique in different ways, Babalola added: “Personalised medicine which can also be called precision medicine or molecular medicine simply means giving the right treatment for the right person at the right time. It is also a practice which emphasize that one dose does not fit all. A drug that is suitable for a particular individual may cause adverse reaction in another but with personalized medicine, a lot of lives would be saved from premature deaths.”
Citing the case of the death of a 14-year-old girl in Kano State, Amina Ibrahim, who allegedly lost her life as a result of adverse reaction to drug use, and other reported cases of patients dying from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome after drug use, Babalola said subjecting individuals to personalized medicine would have averted the tragic cases.
“Personalised medicine involves genetic testing to predict how a patient will respond to a given medication.
It can also help identify a patient’s risk for adverse effects or toxicity from a particular drug or possibility of therapeutic failure, and this is why universities need to be encouraged to undertake more research into this field of medicine,” she declared.
Advising members of the public to stop patronizing drink hawkers or quacks, the university don said:
“One of the ways to avoid cases of patients suffering from adverse reaction to drug use is for people to patronize professionally trained pharmacists, who are in the best position to advise and counsel them on drug use. Not only that whenever any complaint arise from drug use, it is the professional pharmacists that will be able to proffer solution and not the quacks”.
Calling for collaboration between the government and other stakeholders in the health sector, Babalola noted that there was an urgent need to enlighten members of the public on the danger adverse drug reaction posed to people’s health, and the need to promptly report such cases to the relevant authorities.
In her welcome remarks, Dean Faculty of Medicine, Olabisi Onabanjo Univerity, Prof Mbang Femi-Oyewo, said research into personalised medicine will not only be of tremendous benefits to the nation, but also be a boost to the quest being made to reposition the health sector to be able to cope with new challenges in the world of medicine and science.