The Association of Community Pharmacists in Nigeria has expressed worries over the increasing drug scourge in the country, saying infiltrators and quacks have taken over its distribution channels.
The association also called for the need to embrace ethical drug distribution which the current status quo poses security threats to the health of the citizens.
In a statement jointly signed by the chairman, Wale Oladigbolu and the secretary, Ambrose Ezeh, the association said the challenges of medicine security have always been tied to the non-production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Nigeria.
The statement read in part, “A strong need arises to embrace ethical drug distribution as the current status quo constitutes gargantuan security threats to the health of our nation.
“This is because the adversaries of this nation can explore the inherent weaknesses in the value chain of drug distribution endeavours to impose significant morbidity and mortality on our vulnerable population by lacing our APIs, excipients or finished products with very lethal substances which would have created havoc before the possibility of damage control.
“The challenges of Medicine Security have always been tied to the non-production of APIs in our country, but obvious challenges in the drug distribution network now make it imperative that we must have more robust consultations to nip in the bud the seemingly deep and penetrating aberrations in the distribution network.”
The association said further that the PCN Act 2022 is a worthy departure from the ugly past when laws did not place much premium on regulatory control and the safe use of drugs.
It also stated that the federal government must activate some of the specific provisos immediately in consonance with listing Drug Matters as item 21 of Part I in the 2nd schedule of the Exclusive list in the 1999 constitution.
Confirming its usual critical evaluation of health laws and policies, ACPN urged the government at all levels including requisite stakeholders to catalyse Universal Health Coverage by formalising better rules of engagement with Community Pharmacies in alignment with global best practices.
It said the future of community pharmacy is undergoing significant global transformation, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer expectations, and evolving healthcare systems.
“The future of community pharmacy lies in its ability to adapt to changing healthcare demands, leverage technology-enabled solutions, and provide expanded patient-centred care which would by integrating technology, offering personalized services, collaborating with healthcare providers, and emphasizing preventative care, community pharmacies will continue to play a vital role in the evolving healthcare ecosystem, ensuring accessible, convenient, and comprehensive healthcare services for patients.”
“The ACPN is driven by a strong conviction that Government at all levels will create the enabling environment for Community Pharmacist to render enhanced professional services in the best interest of consumers of health who appreciate pharmacies as the easiest and fastest facilities to access healthcare like it is in the rest of the decent world,” it added.