Academic Pharmacists Charged to Play Active Roles in Drug Availability

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…As Lagos NAPA holds 2023 NAPA Day

Academic Pharmacists Charged to Play Active Roles in Drug Availability

 

The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA) recently observed its 2023 NAPA Day with a symposium, where it was clearly stated that pharmacists in the academia have vital roles to play in ensuring Nigerians have access to safe and effective drugs.

While speaking at the symposium titled “The role of academia in ensuring access to safe and effective medicines”, the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm), Babayemi Oyekunle, called on academic pharmacists to be part of pharmacy practice in the country, saying they can’t make a change in a system or practice unless they are in the system.

Oyekunle however charged the academia to focus more on applied research that can solve problems in the pharmaceutical industry and add value to the quality of healthcare delivery in Nigeria, noting that research works that is not relevant to the needs of the populace and solve industry or societal needs will end up in the shelve.

The Lagos State PSN helmsman also urged the academia to teach students what is relevant to the nation’s environment and not just theory and paperwork.

The Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Prof. Gloria Ayoola, in her remarks noted that the topic of the symposium was apt. She said: “We are custodians of innovation and research, so we must ensure that there are quality safe drugs”.

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While delivering the keynote address at the event, the Immediate Past Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Prof. Aderonke Adepoju-Bello, pointed out that pharmacists in academia are the custodians of innovation and research hence, they must ensure that there are quality safe drugs.

According to the former dean, access to the drug is to make sure the people in the country get medicine when needed without stress, adding that the word “safe drug” is an encompassing one about the dosage, toxicity, efficiency, and expiring date of a drug.

She said “Academic pharmacists play several roles in ensuring that people can access medicines that are safe and effective. They serve as the hub for extensive pharmaceutical research and development. This is done by conducting thorough scientific investigations to discover and develop medicines that meet standards, and we can do this by collaborating”.

Prof. Adepoju-Bello, pointed out those pharmacists in academia's involvement in ensuring access to safe and effective drugs extends beyond the laboratory and classroom. She said pharmacists in academia need to practice so as to have practical knowledge.

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The keynote speaker stated that academic pharmacists must not be afraid to shine the light and educate necessary healthcare workers on drug safety. She added that academia should be involved in drug discovery, design, and synthesis, stressing that such is the fundamental of research.

She specifically noted that academia should be involved in herbal medicine. Although it is perceived that herbal medicine is not safe in terms of dosage and other factors, Prof. Adepoju Bello said it is the duty of the pharmacist in academia to come up with a safe and effective dosage, adding that the academia should also be involved in the pharmacokinetics of drugs.

She also harped on the need for academic pharmacists to collaborate with industrial pharmacists as well as the regulatory bodies.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Lagos State NAPA, Dr Azubuike Chukwuemeka, pointed out that Nigeria as a country nearly got into trouble in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, noting that the experience of the pandemic was an eye-opener and required that effort must be put in place to ensure that drugs are readily available for Nigerians.

He noted that the place of pharmacists in academia is indispensable, as the mother of every other group, adding that the academic pharmacists in Lagos have been making frantic efforts and will continue to make efforts to ensure that Nigerians have access to safe and effective medicines.

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Also speaking on the sub-theme of the event “Access to safe and effective medicines in Nigeria: collaboration between industry and academia”, the commercial controller of Fidson Healthcare PLC, Mr Ola Ijimakin, stated that pharmacists in academia have the expertise and the knowledge but if they don’t collaborate with the industry which also has the resources for sponsorship, the knowledge may not be optimally used to solve industry and societal problems, whereas; noting that the industry has what it takes to sponsor research works.

According to Ijimakin, some of the areas in which academia can collaborate with the industry include new drug discovery as well as the development of processes, which is the methods that are efficient and less expensive, adding that pharmacists in academia can also conduct clinical trials.

He called on the leadership of NAPA to find a way to provide a solution to the challenge of who owns the outcome of the collaboration, which is the outcome of the sponsor research work (product ownership), adding that NAPA also needs to have a platform where to make people in the industry know that certain research area is available.

 

 

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