By Sola Ogundipe
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, has faulted the proposal of the Federal Ministry of Health to create three-tiers of eligible players in the sales of Over-The-Counter, OTC, drugs under the classification of Patent & Proprietary Medicine Vendors Licence in Nigeria.
In a statement, Pharm Samuel Adekola and Pharm Bose Idowu, National Chairman and National Secretary, ACPN, respectively, said the concept of PPMVL was originally structured to be a stop-gap mechanism to make drugs available in locations where there existed palpable shortage of professional services in the Pharmaceutical sector.
“The ACPN is aware of efforts by the PCN to review the activities of PPMVL holders to make them more effective and to comply with the extant law that established them.
This to the best of our knowledge, is still an ongoing discussion; hence we do not understand the haste by the FMOH to announce the tier classification of PPMVL holders and came out to declare that Patent Medicine Dealers has come to stay. “We find it extremely important to caution on the larger implications of the unnecessary stratification which opens a supposed tier-2 of PPMVL holders which will be made up of health professionals.
According to the duo the membership of the ACPN is not comfortable with the motive that drove this tier classification of OTC drugs because it is a potential instrument to further worsen the chaotic drug distribution network in the country.
Further, they stated that the new tier-classification will only provide a legal template to short-circuit existing or proposed Pharmacy Statutes in the totality of regulation, enforcement, monitoring and control.
“In a country where it has always been impossible to regulate the activities of those who indulge in drug sales and dispensing, it is only a matter of common-sense that what the FMOH is undertaking if this proposal is allowed to be implemented is the final burial ceremony of Pharmacy practice in Nigeria. “This has enjoined the FMOH to immediately assemble a full consultation of critical stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector which include PSN, ACPN,PCN, NAFDAC and the department of Food and Drug Services of the FMOH to deliberate on this urgent matter arising with a view to charting a credible path moving forward.
“We at ACPN have also resolved to handle this matter, which revolves around our future and destiny with all the smartness and seriousness it deserves.”
Stating that the next set of Health Ministers must be structured to be “fit and proper”. the ACPN said it is expedient they should be experienced administrators or managers of cognate exposure that will promote team-spirit that will allow all stakeholders to bring their expertise to bear in public interest as it is an established fact that healthcare delivery is a multi-disciplinary task.
“For the sake of posterity, we shall seek approval from necessary quarters to seek a legal redress of this proposal on tier-classification as canvassed by the outgone administration at the FMOH if our admonitions and appeals for dialogue are not taken seriously in the days ahead.”