Pharmacists task Senate on establishment of national drug abuse rehab centre
* Want amendment of NDLEA Act to accommodate consumer protection directorate headed by registered member
Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has raised red alert to the recurring menace of drug misuse and abuse, which they said is now taking unprecedented toll on health consuming public in Nigeria.
President PSN, Ahmed I. Yakasai, on Monday, during a courtesy call on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, advocated an amendment of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act to accommodate a new directorate of consumer protection to be headed by a registered pharmacist and the establishment of a National Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Centre (NDARC).
Yakasai said this directorate would be empowered to coordinate health advocacy and monitoring/control of narcotics and other medicines with abuse and misuse potentials in Nigeria. “This Act shall best be pursued on the template of a private member’s bill which we assure Your Excellency will have the maximum support of the PSN,” he said.
Yakasai also requested for the cooperation of Saraki to facilitate the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) Act amendment bill which is championed by the Nigeria Law Reform Commission that is presently pending before the House Committee on Health in the House of Representatives.
The PSN President said the envisaged PCN bill is well grounded in law to boost the inspectorate activities of PCN, which has statutory powers to regulate and control all pharmaceutical premises in both public and private sectors. This mandate, he said, also gives PCN a latitude to modulate the activities of Patent Medicine Dealers in Nigeria.
The PSN admonished the National Assembly to continue to be wary of attempts by some stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector who continue to sponsor bills geared towards attaining autonomy as practitioners when the level of their training confers only a sub-professional cadre at best. Yakasai said if such moves are allowed to succeed, the National Assembly might only make consumers of health more susceptible and vulnerable to the services of half baked practitioners.
“We strongly urge the National Assembly to ensure that the Executive arm to constitute the governing council and boards of the plethora of agencies, Federal Health Institutions as well as key parastatals of the health sector,” he said.
Yakasai said this is particularly germaine to an effective execution of the statutory mandate of the three principal agencies of the Federal Government involved in drug distribution endeavours in Nigeria. For the records these are PCN, National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), NDLEA.
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