The Nigerian Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED), Cross River branch, has pledged full support to the fight against fake and counterfeit drugs and unregulated products in the state.
Mr Patrick Obilla, President of the Association in the state, made the pledge on Wednesday in Calabar at a seminar organised by NAPPMED for its members in the Southern Senatorial district of the state.
Obilla said members of the association were law abiding citizens who had chosen to live through the sale of “over the counter’’ drugs and not a stop gap mechanism as often speculated in some quarters.
“NAPPMED stands to assure all related agencies that the fight against fake and unregulated products is not for them alone.
It is a fight for both the producers, distributors and consumers, ‘’ he said.
He called on the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to collaborate with Customs and Immigration to stop importation of fake and counterfeit drugs.
He said NAPPMED members had contributed immeasurably to the socio-economic development of the state and Nigeria at large.
“We provide services to the rural dwellers; engage in revenue generation, creation of employment and referrals among others.
“We fill the gap in the drugs distribution chain in Cross River and Nigeria at large. ‘’
Obilla appealed to the state government, through the Ministry of Health, to assist NAPPMED members with soft loans to improve their businesses.
“Incentives to our members will enable them continue to perform their roles in the rural communities. ‘’ .
Speaking, Dr Isaac Kolawole, Head of NAFDAC in Cross River, commended NAPPMED for playing a critical role in national development.
He urged the association to upgrade the capacity of its members in line with modern trends, adding that increased knowledge among them members would catapult them to higher levels.
Kolawole said government might come up with a higher qualification as requirement for registration as a patent medicine vendor in nearest future.
“I see a situation where, in the nearest future, the qualification for registration as NAPPMED will be at least OND, ‘’ Kolawole said.
Dr Beta Edu, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Healthcare, said government was planning to build the capacity of NAPPMED members.
He said the plan was to aid them in their complementary role in the development of primary healthcare delivery system in the state.
Edu commended the association for complementing the services of the primary healthcare in the rural communities.