To sanitise the drug distribution system in the country, the Federal Government has been urged, as a matter of necessity, to immediately begin the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG) without further delay.
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, who made the appeal, said NDDG, when implemented would tackle the current chaotic drug distribution that is rampant in the country and establish a well-ordered drug distribution system.
The pharmacists spoke at an event tagged: “ACPN Day” to mark the Lagos State Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) 2017 Pharmacy Week with the theme: “Building a Healthy Nation: Role of Community Pharmacists” which held in Lagos recently.
In her address, Chairman, ACPN, Lagos State Branch, Mrs. Biola Paul-Ozieh, said apart from addressing the various problems in the drug distribution chain, implementation of NDDG will also safeguard the health of the nation.
Paul-Ozieh noted that the recent announcement by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole on the postponement of the closure of the Open Drug Markets was definitely not in public interest and therefore, not acceptable to them as a professional group.
The pharmacist believe that holistic implementation of NDDG would check the practice of open drug markets in the country and also curb the circulation of fake, adulterated, substandard and counterfeit drugs that results from uncoordinated and chaotic drug distribution system.
To ensure full compliance of NDDG, she said: “We would like to reiterate the importance of reconstituting the board of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) so that the board can provide the necessary oversight function. The appointment of a new Director-General for National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is also long overdue and the Federal Government should go ahead to appoint a suitable pharmacist for that key regulatory office.”
Paul-Ozieh therefore, implored the government and its various agencies to partner with community pharmacists in stemming the tide of drug abuse in the country.
Representative of Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Dr. Rotimi Adesanya in his speech, said in the healthcare value chain, community pharmacists play key roles in prevention of diseases as well as access to care.
The Keynote Speaker and Head, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration, Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awowolo University, Ile-Ife, Dr. Gbola Olayiwola, said: “Community pharmacists are closer to the people and can take care of common diseases that would not need hospitalisation like malaria, headache, and stomach upsets, etc.”
According to him, community pharmacists are even doing minor diagnosis, sometimes at no cost.
“Many of them are involved in health screening like hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, osteoporosis, immunisation, pain control, participatory clinical research, counseling/health education “, he explained.
The event witnessed free health screening on diabetes, HIV, hypertension, among others.