February 17, 2023

PSN seeks legislation to redress drug scarcity in public hospitals

Firms partner on affordable pharmaceuticals, diagnostics

Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN

By  Chioma Obinna

Pharmacists under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, 2023 colloquium have called for legislative action to redress what they described as the ‘vicious cycle’ of drug scarcity in all public hospitals in Nigeria.

The pharmacists also in a communiqué tagged: “PSN Colloquium 2023: Repositioning Pharmacy in an Unstable Economy”, jointly signed by the PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, and the Secretary, Pharm. Gbenga Falabi further called for a disciplined, ethical and professionally inclined pharmacy workforce in the public service.

Colloquium emphasized a need for the PSN and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, to invoke the disciplinary templates to sanction erring pharmacists who connive with their hospital managements to violate the code of ethics, pharmacy laws and a wide range of PSN resolutions in the process of scurrying pecuniary gains and interests.

They also demanded for a new scheme of service from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation in the pharmacy cadre that will recognise the NUC-approved Pharm. D as an entry point and consultant cadre status as a terminal point for pharmacists in public service in Nigeria.

The Colloquium advised hospital and administrative pharmacists to build on their 2022 landmark AGM resolution to embrace the appropriate trade union for their cadre as a veritable means to strengthen agitations related to the growth and development of hospital pharmacy practice in Nigeria.

Colloquium endorsed the need for bilateral cooperation between the WAPCP and the universities in developing a holistic pharmacy personnel-driven workforce to cope with the training of pharmacists at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Nigeria.

They called for an enhanced management architecture between the postgraduate college of pharmacists and universities through cataclysm engendered by appropriate government templates that these proposals will be concretised at a crucial juncture our ailing health system must be revitalised.

They adopted all necessary steps taken by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, to expand the frontiers of routine immunisation beyond the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Colloquium suggested that negotiations must be activated to ensure operational recognition of community pharmacies as health facilities accredited to formally undertake routine immunisation, family planning, ante-natal care and related primary-care services as provided in existing health statutes at federal, state and local government levels.”

They called on the NHIA secretariat to carefully evaluate the various provisions of the PCN Act 2022 in sections 22, 27(1), 29(1), 29(2), 29(3), 33(1), 33(2) and 71 to enable it to appreciate that the law in Nigeria today prohibits stocking, dispensing, sales of drugs in any facility/premises which does not have a superintendent pharmacist and is not registered by the PCN.

They suggested that the NHIA must as a lawful requirement draw up its new operational guidelines to reflect the new realities in pharmacy practice to enjoy harmonious relationships within the ranks of all concerned stakeholders in health insurance.

They reminded all practitioners in community pharmacy space to deploy IT into their practice to pave the way for patient medication records data gathering and management including pharmacovigilance.

The duo said: “Colloquium criticised the apparent politics of duplicitous expediency orchestrated by the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health in dealing with the regularisation of the training of Resident Pharmacists in Federal Health Institutions as contained in circulars issued by the same Federal Ministry of Health since June 2015.

“Colloquium expressed surprise that the Federal Ministry of Health had deliberately stalled the full implementation of consultant cadre for pharmacists in the public sector of federal level despite the fulfilment of due process as epitomized by the circulars from the Office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation in 2020 and 2021.

“Colloquium directed eligible Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists to hold forth as they continue to consolidate efforts that will yield to full implementation of this deserved benefit package nationwide.”