February 28, 2022

Community pharmacists tackle NAFDAC on destruction of expired products

•Say paying for disposal is double Jeopardy

By Chioma Obinna

Community Pharmacists under the auspices of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Lagos State Chapter, on Thursday frowned at the policy of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, which demands money from members of the association before destroying expired drugs submitted to it for destruction.

Rising from their 2021 annual general meeting, the pharmacists described the situation as double jeopardy to lose money over an expired product, and still pay to have it destroyed.

Speaking in Lagos, the newly elected Chairman, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, said community pharmacists in the state were unhappy with the situation, noting that huge payments requested by the agency from members of the association for the destruction of drug products remain unsustainable.

“It promotes the reluctance of law-abiding community pharmacists towards surrendering and subsequent destruction of such products.   Our relationship with the agency remains cordial, however, there should be an improvement.

“The agency should also activate the recall system by the manufacturers and importers of the products with a view to mitigating the losses incurred by members upon expiry of the products.

He added, “The attitude of NAFDAC officials during enforcement activities is also a cause for concern. The military-style of enforcement should be played down, although we have informed the director-general about this and she promised to do something about it, there has been a recent upsurge in the style of enforcement.

“We, therefore, appeal to the agency and its leadership to reconsider this approach to enforcement with a view to maintaining the cordial relationship that exists between the ACPN and NAFDAC.”

The erstwhile Chairman, of the state ACPN, Pharm. Olabanji Obideyi, described the situation as worrisome, saying pharmacists constantly incur losses in their businesses, despite being charged for registration of the same products by the regulators, adding that paying again for their destruction is unfortunate.

“In the first place when a drug expires, it cannot be dispensed again, so whatever investment that one might have on it is lost already, but asking such person to pay money to have the drug destroyed is quite worrisome.

“Ordinarily, what should have been the situation is that drugs that are expired should be recalled back to the company where they are bought from to be destroyed, but today what we have is the opposite”.

He added, “I remember when I was the chairman, we had an agreement for a reduction in the charges, and when we distributed the money among our members who were involved, it wasn’t really a cause for concern, but it’s a different ball game this time around considering what they are asking for and that is why the issue has been dragging for this long and up till now, there has not been headway”.

The Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN), Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola said the reason for the challenge was because the country does not have a good recall system.

“If there is, the manufacturing or marketing companies of the products are supposed to have a recall system whereby the products are recalled once they are expired and do the needful, in such a way that destruction would not be harmful to the people.

“Imagine procuring about ten packs of products, two packs got expired in your hand, ordinarily you have lost money, yet you are still expected to pay a huge sum of money to have the expired product destroyed, can you imagine that? It’s a challenge of double jeopardy”, he said.

Earlier, the duo of Pharm. Deji Osinoiki, chairman, Board of trustees, Lagos ACPN, and Pharm. AminuYinka  Abdulsalam, urged the Pharmaceutical  Inspectorate Committee (PIC), of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), to scale up their game in the area of ridding the environment of illegal outlets, adding that if nothing is done today on the area of illegal outlets, the young one may not have a place to practice tomorrow.

According to Pharm. Osinoiki, the problem of pharmacy are pharmacists themselves, adding that there are a lot of bad eggs among the practitioners who encourage and fuel the register-and-go syndrome and allow the influx of charlatans in the respected profession. “If we don’t have discipline among ourselves, we can’t keep blaming the PIC all the time. Let us enforce discipline and sit up as men of honour that we claim,” he advised.

A major high point of the programme was the re-election of the executive members of the association for the next year.

Other members of the re-elected executives are Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, chairman; Pharm. Paul Owolabi, vice-chairman; Pharm. Charles Oyeniyi, general secretary; Pharm.  (Mrs) Mosunmola Dosumu,  Asst-general secretary; Pharm. TolulopeAjayi, treasurer; Pharm. MoyinoluwaOshin, publicity secretary; Pharm. Rebecca Akawa, financial secretary; Pharm. ChukwudiEzenwanne, editor-in-chief, and Pharm. OlabanjiObideyi, immediate past chairman.

Vanguard News