By Gabriel Olawale
Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Lagos has expressed concern over the alarming rate at which Nigerians are exposed to falsified medicines and expired drugs due to weak legislation on pharmacy matters in Nigeria.
Lagos State Chairman of the Association, Pharm Olabanji Obideyi said that the situation had been worsened due to a lack of adequate infrastructure by the regulatory authorities to carry out their jobs.
Speaking during the 2019 World Pharmacists’ Day celebration with the theme; “Safe and Effective Medicines for All” Obideyi disclosed that on daily basis, illegal premises are springing up by charlatans who do not have any formal training on medicines. The only motivation they have is to profiteer at the expense of citizen’s lives.
“In these illegal outlets, expired drugs are relabeled for sale to the unsuspecting members of the public, while some other medicines are being falsified at an alarming rate, “if our medicines must be safe and efficacious, the government needs to build the capacity of regulatory agencies by providing necessary tools to work.”
He urged Nigerians to be wary of where they buy their medicines and not how cheap the medicines are. “People should be cautious of the quality and service being rendered. As a guide, we advise you to patronize any pharmacy premises where you see emblem signage Rx and green cross.”
Corroborating his views, the keynote speaker at the event, Chief Executive Officer of PharmaSolutions Limited, Pharm. Olabisi Oyeleye said that for patients to benefit from the medicine he or she takes, “the right medicines must be prescribed at the right time, in the right formulations at the right doses and for the right duration.
“A Pharmacist is the only one that can ensure that patients or clients have access to good quality drugs that are considered safe and efficacious. In doing this, Pharmacists will ensure that medicines being used by patients do not interact together to cause bodily harm, not contradicted in the patient with some other co-existing conditions, and do not cause undue adverse drug reaction due to erroneous doses.
A pharmacist will also ensure that patients are adequately counseled on proper ways to use their medicine. For instance, whether to use their drugs after or before food, what side effects to expect and what to do to ameliorate it, and so on.” On his part, the Chairman of Lagos State chapter of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr. Tunji Akintade said that the role of a pharmacist, in general, has evolved into healthcare practitioners who advise patients and healthcare providers on the selection, dosages, interactions and side effects of medicines.
“As an intermediary between the patient and doctor, pharmacists are trusted sources of knowledge to ensure safety through improved medication use and reduced medication errors. They are charged with the responsibility to ensure that the usage of medicines by patients does not cause harm.
Akintade emphasised the need to educate the common man who patronizes fake medicine peddlers in the communities on the effects of using poor quality, ineffective and harmful medicines, adding that the use of such unauthentic medications can result in therapeutic failure, worsened conditions and sometimes leads to death.
Chairman of Kosofe Local Government, Hon. Afolabi Sofola pledged to champion sensitization of its community members of the dangers of patronizing fake medicine peddlers, “Patronage of these medicines apart from being a waste of money can also endanger lives.”