Pharmacists under the aegis of Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) have raised the alarm on the risk of high morbidity and mortality in the country as a result of lack of control in ethical drug distribution.
The body attributed the worrisome development to total surrender of drug channel distribution to charlatans and infiltrators, who without the requisite qualifications and respect to laws and policies of the country, have taken over the distribution network.
The Chairman of ACPN, Wale Oladigbolu, who decried the prevailing situation, described it as a big security threat to the health of the nation and cautioned against the undesirable consequences of the development.
He expressed concern that the nation’s adversaries could take advantage of the unhealthy situation to undermine the health of vulnerable citizenry through unwholesome practices, including lacing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and excipients or finished products with harmful substances.
“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 a damage control.
“There is a strong need to embrace control over 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 a damage control,’’ he said.
According to a release by ACPN signed by Oladigbolu and Secretary of the association, Ambrose Ezeh; the non-production of APIs in the country has been a factor militating against medicine security in the nation’s health delivery and needs urgent solution.
They pointed at the PCN Act 2022 as a commendable step against what obtained hitherto which did not give enough regulatory power of use of drugs, and called for the implementation of the law in consonance with drug matters as contained in the Act.
According to the document, Section 31 spells out condition precedent to appoint Pharmaceutical Inspection Officers (PIO) which are grounded in their licensure as Registered Pharmacist. Section 32 spells out the powers of PIOs in Nigeria for the first time. The PIOs can enter anywhere they suspect a violation of the PCN Act 2022. The wide ranging powers include inspecting and sealing Pharma premises where there are violations.
The pharmacists’ body said the future of community pharmacy is undergoing significant global transformation, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer expectations and evolving healthcare systems.
They further explained that community pharmacies are adapting to consumers’ shifting preferences for convenience and digital access. “They are investing in user-friendly mobile apps, on-line platforms, and AI-powered chat-bots to enable virtual consultations, medication refills, appointment bookings, and personalised health recommendations.