By Sola Ogundipe
THE Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, Pharm Elijah Mohammed has cautioned Nigerians to be aware that the Council is the only bonafide body with the mandate to issue licences for the sale and distribution of phamaceutical drugs in the country.
Making the call in Lagos during a chat with Good Health Weekly, Mohammed, who frowned at the practice whereby certain groups are claiming to be regulators of their own members, urged the public to ignore such claims.
Mohammed, who spoke on the heels of the recent judgement of the Federal High Court in Akure, Ondo State, which dismissed the suit filed by the Nigeria Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers, NAPPMED, against the PCN, said the outcome of the long-drawn suit had vindicated the Council as the authoritative regulator of the pharmaceutical industry.
“We all know that the Act setting up the PCN, mandates it as a body to regulate what I would call the five ‘Ps’ , which are the practice, personnel, premises, products and the impact on the patient.
“Of these five ‘Ps’, the patient is the most essential followed by the practice, personnel and premises. The patient is the reason we are in practice and offering pharmaceutical services.” Noting that the practice of pharmacy is unique, unlike other business bcecause life is involved, he said every one in the country must abide by the rule of law.
“We are grateful for the judgement in Akure which is very exclusive and clear. The implication of the judgement is that NAPPMED must subject itself to regulation by the PCN. We have not been doing that because of the series of court injunctions stopping the Council.
With this judgement we are going out. He said unregulated groups formed veritable channels for distribution of fake and counterfeit drugs. “Drugs are on the exclusive list of government and therefore, not what you handle anyhow and that’s why there are rules and regulations in place to ensure the patient gets the best.”
In his argument, Mohammed said it was regretful that some individuals don’t want to be regulated, and that such development is not acceptable. “They refuse to comply, selling fake drugs and impersonating medical healthcare personnel, these things must stop.
“NAPPMEDD has gone to the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to get registered and claiming to be licencing their members to sell drugs, and distribute same. “What that means is that they have taken over the duty of the government of Nigeria to issue out drug licences. Those individuals that have been feeding from these people are still resisting, and that is why we are taking them to court.”
“They have committed economic crime. All the money they have deprived the Federal government, they must produce it and be prosecuted for obstruction of government officials from doing their job. We need cooperation of the Police and judiciary to ensure these things are put in place.”
Further, Mohammed said as a Federal government parastatal empowered to regulate drug sales and distribution in the country, the PCN does not need to be told what to do. “Our stand is that if you must do business with drugs, you must do so according to the provisions of law and must adhere to it,” he argued.
On the dangers of improper regulation and monitoring of the numerous drug outlets and the distribution system in the country, the Registrar worried that unknown persons could sneak into the country to test new drugs that no one knows about simply because they have capacity to distribute, the drugs.
“A lot of people die without attributing these things to those drugs. From the reports we are getting they could also be a source of drug supply for the insurgents. “I recall that security operatives found all sorts of drugs in some of those territories. Where did those drugs come from? It is all because the outlets that are not regulated or controlled. We need to step up this regulation.