ACPN Asks Buhari to Im­ple­ment Na­tional Drug Dis­tri­bu­tion Guide­line

THISDAY - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - Martins Ifi­jeh

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Phar­ma­cists of Nige­ria (ACPN) has called on the Pres­i­dent-elect, Muham­madu Buhari, who would be sworn in to­mor­row as the coun­try’s Pres­i­dent to im­ple­ment the Na­tional Drug Dis­tri­bu­tion Guide­line (NDDG) which has been set up by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment since 2013.

The call was made by the Na­tional Chair­man of ACPN, Mr. Olufemi Ade­bayo, who stressed that drugs were still be­ing sold in the open mar­ket as a re­sult of lack of im­ple­men­ta­tion of the al­ready drafted guide­lines which the cur­rent gov­ern­ment has put on hold for un­known rea­sons.

Ac­cord­ing to him the NDDG was a per­fect doc­u­ment by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, launched in Fe­bru­ary, 2013 to solve the chaotic drug dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern in the coun­try which was ham­per­ing drug af­ford­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity among Nige­ri­ans. Ade­bayo said that af­ter the guide­line was drafted by the gov­ern­ment, it was agreed that the im­ple­men­ta­tion would start within months, but that the gov­ern­ment post­poned it to 2014 and again shifted it to June this year.

Ade­bayo, who said he was sur­prised that gov­ern­ment could play pol­i­tics with some­thing as vi­tal as that by de­lay­ing its im­ple­men­ta­tion, ex­plained that he be­lieved the gov­ern­ment de­layed the im­ple­men­ta­tion be­cause of the just-con­cluded gen­eral elec­tions.

He won­dered why gov­ern­ment was de­lay­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a guide­line it put on ground it­self just be­cause they were scared of step­ping on toes of peo­ple in the in­dus­try who had made drugs ex­pen­sive and un­easy to get in the coun­try.

“We are all aware that the dis­tri­bu­tion of medicines is on the ex­clu­sive list of the gov­ern­ment and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the doc­u­ment also lies on the Pres­i­dency, not on any of the agen­cies of the gov­ern­ment. It has the ex­clu­sive power to call on all stake­hold­ers and task­force to en­sure that the im­ple­men­ta­tion is en­forced to the let­ter, but what we got was shift­ing of the im­ple­men­ta­tion dates.

“Gov­ern­ment must move be­yond pleas­ing some few peo­ple at the detri­ment of Nige­ri­ans. Now that the im­ple­men­ta­tion has again been shifted to June 1st, which co­in­cides with the com­ing of Buhari into the of­fice, we are call­ing on him to hit the ground run­ning and not de­lay fur­ther the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NDDG, as this would in turn en­sure proper chan­nel­ing of drugs from the man­u­fac­tur­ers up to the con­sumers in a very pro­fes­sional way, as well as im­prove the health of the peo­ple,” he said.

He de­cried the sales of drugs in the coun­try by un­pro­fes­sion­als, stress­ing that it was un­for­tu­nate that drug hawk­ers were still con­duct­ing their trade in the coun­try, though it re­mained a crim­i­nal of­fence to hawk drugs.

“Even if th­ese hawked drugs are gen­uine drugs, the heat of the sun and the way they are ex­posed would make them loose their po­tency. So it should be dis­cour­aged and of­fend­ers should be made to face the law,” he said.

He called on the Na­tional Agency for Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Con­trol (NAFDAC) and the var­i­ous en­force­ment agen­cies to ar­rest and pun­ish of­fend­ers.

He also ex­plained that same treat­ment be meted out to unau­tho­rised per­sons who op­er­ate phar­ma­cies. “Phar­ma­cies should be op­er­ated by pro­fes­sion­als. The cur­rent law set up for re­tail phar­macy is that you must be a phar­ma­cist to be a re­tailer, be­cause a level of pro­fes­sional ser­vice is re­quired at that level since they in­ter­act di­rectly with the con­sumers,” he added.

On the con­cept of Chain Phar­macy, Ade­bayo, said it was no more news that for­eign in­vestors were plan­ning to come to Nige­ria to in­vest in re­tail as­pect of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sec­tor but that such in­vestors must work with the terms and pro­vi­sion of the ex­ist­ing laws guiding com­mu­nity phar­macy prac­tise in the coun­try.

“We are also im­plor­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to de­velop a pol­icy that will make fund­ing avail­able to com­mu­nity phar­ma­cists at a sin­gle digit in­ter­est rate in or­der to make drug af­ford­able to its cit­i­zens,” he said.

L-R: Vice Chair­man, Con­fer­ence Plan­ning Com­mit­tee, Mrs. Brid­get Okocha; Chair­man, CPC, Mr. Babayemi Oyekunle; Na­tional Chair­man, As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Phar­ma­cists of Nige­ria, Mr. Olufemi Is­mail Ade­bayo and Na­tional Sec­re­tary, ACPN, Mr. Adeoye Afuye,...

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