How poor regulation by NAFDAC, PCN fuels counterfeit medicines
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) have blamed upsurge in counterfeit medicines and use of illicit drugs like codeine and tramadol on poor regulatory and monitoring activities by the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
National Chairman, ACPN, Samuel Oluwaoromipin Adekola, yesterday at the 2018 Community Pharmacy Summit in Ikeja, Lagos, said there is urgent need to boost the inspectorate activities of the PCN and NAFDAC because community pharmacists have been severely hit by inadequacies and shortcomings in the totality of monitoring and control procedures in Nigeria.
Adekola said: “At a juncture, many have continued to believe that private sector players are over regulated in Nigeria, it is also obvious the positive packages associated with such regulation is almost non-existence. We shall work with the PCN and NAFDAC to strategize on how to make more resources available to boost a culture of ethically driven inspectorate activities. We shall specifically request for joint inspectorate teams from these Agencies to redress our challenges.
“The Federal and State Task Forces on Counterfeit medicines must be made to work again. It is imperative to declare that we shall partner PCN and NAFDAC to actualize the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG) targets, goals and objectives. In particular, we shall encourage the PCN to take advantage of the manning levels approved for its new Enforcement Department by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSOF) in the bid for coordinated and effective monitoring and control.”
Adekola said a National Prescription Policy (NPP) would boost the services of community pharmacists. He said the need for a NPP could not be overemphasized, as it will afford us controlled and regulated access to medicines. This, he said, will ultimately reduce the ravaging menace of drug abuse and misuse in Nigeria.
The ACPN explained: “In 2013, the PSN had the initiatives to drive the need for a NPP. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) acceded to this request by setting up a National Committee on the project. The PSN and PCN Acting Registrar of PCN were on that committee. I had echoed this same request for the NPP immediately I took over the reigns of leadership of ACPN. Fortunately, we have information that the FMOH is already working on this abandoned project after unhealthy professional rivalry compelled it in 2014.
“For effect however, especially in the Private Sector where there are palpable challenges with prescription and dispensing endeavours, we clamour strongly for the inclusion of ACPN and Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) which is its equivalent in the medical profession as these are umbrella templates of the stakeholders who will facilitate a successful mandate at the private sector level where there is no formal prescription structure in Nigeria.”
Adekola said a value added service Community Pharmacists (CPs) must provide in the unfolding dispensation is proper labelling of medicines dispensed from the premises. He added: “We must eradicate the unfortunate discourse of writing on product packs in manners, which end up confusing the patient/client. One of the golden areas of our training was dispensing practical and we must clearly set the tone for carrying out this endeavor the way we were taught in school.
“We shall approach this venture through a pilot programme early next year in selected cities. Ultimately, we shall push for bulk printers for members to reduce cost drastically as we shall urge all CPs to embrace this through the instrumentality of the PCN.”
Adekola said access to safe medicines as a human right of the Nigerian citizen and the ACPN will partner some civil society groups with the aim of reaching out to the National Human Rights Commission (NHCR) to entrench the philosophy access to safe medicines as a Human Right of Nigerians. This, he said, will boost the tenets of consumerism and portray pharmacists as patient friendly. “We shall consult further on this move and revert back to you dear colleagues.”
The ACPN boss said in recognition that the future begins today, the Association shall embark on the reflected ancillary measures, which include but not limited to:
*A future package that will focus on standardized but uniform shelving pattern in registered CPs. The structure in these Pharmacies will emphasize concepts like Pharmacy based specialized clinics for care e.g. anti-natal, family planning, and diet management regimens in our Pharmacies to meet the expectation of vintage Health Facilities. These programmes will feature Home Service Care as well as other routine primary healthcare services.
*CPs must embrace IT systems, Pharma-softwares and other innovations that enhance the practice.
*In the quest for better recognition of our role and repositioning as Health Facilities, we must embellish group practice with other colleagues as a priority. A lot of our stand-alone Pharmacies are not viable and need to merge with others that are stronger with impactful outputs. The group practice phenomena must be expanded to collaborative healthcare practice with other healthcare workers for maximal effects. In these different settings, Pharmacists must excel in the Pharmaceutical Care Concept with premium emphasis on documentation of our various interventions at all levels. Other critical advances will include full implementation of various expanded roles of CPs that include point of care testing, immunization like is done in over 80 per cent of CPs in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Portugal etc.