By Felicia Imohimi
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Pharmacists Council Nigeria Bill passed by the National Assembly on March 8, 2018.
Mr Samuel Adekola, National Chairman of the association, who made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja, said the assent would hurt illegal and unwholesome drug distribution channels, among others.
According to Adekola, one of the major benefits of the bill is to open unique window of competence driven service at all levels of pharmacy practice in the country.
“We appeal to the Federal Government to heed to this clarion call to engender a new agenda of productivity, professionalism, self-sufficiency in local production and regulatory excellence in the pharma-sector.
“These achievements will change the narratives and place the pharma-sector in good stead to contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“One of the philosophies of the National Drug Policy 2005 is to guarantee that Nigerians have access to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines. This is a cardinal responsibility of every government to its citizenry,” he said in a statement.
The chairman reiterated that speedy assent of the bill would enhance the enforcement of sales of medicines in only harmacies and patent medicines stores registered by the pharmacists’ council.
Adekola said the measure would permanently contain the menace of drug abuse and falsified drug syndrome in Nigeria as prescribed by the Poison and Pharmacy Act.
“The PCN Bill 2017 clearly prohibits sale of drugs in unauthorized places such as open drug markets, this in essence is in tandem with the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).
“The NDDG is the official government tool structured to impose decorum in the unwieldy drug distribution channels which Nigeria currently contends with.
“Today as it stands government moves to replace the unlawful open market structures with Coordinated Wholesale Centers (CWC) need to be grounded in lawful templates which the PCN bill guarantees.
“The responsibilities of the critical stakeholders and in particular our regulators like PCN, NAFDAC, NDLEA as well as police will automatically be enhanced once all the necessary reforms are formalised,” he said.
Adekola, however, noted that Pharmacy Laws are laced with very substantial antiquity because the first Pharmacy Ordinance was enacted in 1887.
According to him, this has been tinkered with severally through series of Acts till the modern-day variants like the PCN Cap 17 LFN 2004 and the PPA Cap 535 LFN 2PARA 1990.
He emphasised that the consequences of these acts of negligence remained the vulnerability of the council, federal government and Minister of Health to the unending litigations which had reduced the efficiency of the PCN in carrying out its statutory mandate.
The chairman explained that the bill had also removed all ambiguities with regards to offences and relevant commensurate sanctions applicable to all players.
He added: “This portion of the bill is significant because owners of unregistered premises, those who sell products they are not legally licensed to sell and those who violate the condition precedence attached to their licensure will better appreciate the consequences of their unlawful acts.”
He assured that the association would continue to collaborate with International Pharmaceutical Federation, WHO, African Pharmaceutical Forum and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists to achieve best practices.