By Kunle Adedoyin
Pharmacists under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria in collaboration with doctors under the aegis of Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria have emphasised the need for all stakeholders in the health sector to work together to rid the country of illegal outlets distributing unsafe medicines to the populace.
Olabanji Obadeyi, the Chairman, ACPN, Lagos Chapter, at the 2019 World Pharmacists’ Day, said that due to weak legislation on pharmacy matters, illegal premises run by charlatans by charlatans who do not have formal training on medicines, but whose only motive is to profiteer at the expense of citizens’ life, are springing up on a daily basis.
The event has as the theme: “Safe and Effective Medicines for all.”
Obadeyi pointed out that while these illegal outlets re-label expired drugs and sell to the unsuspecting members of the public, other medicines are being falsified at an alarming rate.
He lamented that the regulatory authorities seem to be handicapped in this regard due to lack of adequate infrastructure to carry out their job, adding that if medicines must be safe and efficacious, government would need to build the capacity of concerned agencies by providing necessary tools to work.
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, pointed out that to ensure safe and effective medicines for all Nigerians, there is need to pay attention to pharmaceutical care, which must be prompted wholly by the health policy makers and embraced by all stakeholders, as well as taking ethical and psychotropic drugs off the streets through the passage of the Pharmacy bill into law.
He said there must be total regulation of medicines, as they are potential poisons, which need to be handled with adequate knowledge, while there is improvement in transport and electricity, which will have a big effect on the delivery of safe and effective medicines to Nigerians.
The Chairman, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter, Dr. Tunji Akintade said there is need for all healthcare professional to partner in medicine as it concerns the citizens and their health, while they fight the common enemy, which is the quacks who ruin the lives of patients at the expense of profit.
Akintade said the health of the citizens is not all about doctors alone, as it involves the nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientist, paramedicals and other healthcare professional, which at one point prescribe and administer medicines to patients.
“What we are saying is that if a patient comes to an hospital and needs drugs, and the drug is not available in the hospital, the doctor should be able to write a prescription and send to a pharmacist who will check if it is appropriate for the patients,” he said.
The keynote speaker, Olabisi Oyeleye, Chief Executive Officer, PharmaSolutions Limited, said it is saddening to see Nigerians patronise quacks because they sell at a cheaper and affordable rates, thereby risking their health, rather than patronising a qualified pharmacist.
She said this high patronage has made quacks open more illegal outlets to sell their life-threatening medicines to people, while she advised the public not to be carried away by cheap drugs, thereby endangering their lives.
The Executive Chairman, Kosofe Local Government, Afolabi Sofola, said medicines are a cornerstone treatment for many health problems, as they prevent, treat or manage many illnesses or conditions, and are the most common intervention in healthcare.He said getting the most from medicines, for both patients and healthcare professionals becomes increasingly important as more people are taking more medicines, adding that there is a need to educate the common man who patronises fake medicine peddlers in communities on the effects of using poor quality, ineffective and harmful medicines, as the use of such unauthentic medications can result in therapeutic failure, worsened conditions and sometimes even death.”
He pointed out that patronage of these medicines, apart from being a waste of money shows a lack of confidence in the healthcare system and its professionals, who are more than equipped, while he advised patients in need of healthcare assistance to approach registered community pharmacies and consult the pharmacist for counsel on “responsible and appropriate medicine use for ultimate preservation of their health.”