Members of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Lagos State Chapter, have tasked the Nigerian government to give more recognition to pharmacists in health institutions, as experts in all drug-related matters.
The association made the call at the recent AHAPN Day, held within the Lagos State PSN Scientific Week 2022, at the Lagos PSN Secretariat, Ogudu, Lagos.
The AHAPN Day was themed, “Innovative Approach Towards Ensuring Medicine Security: The Place of Local Production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Nigeria.”
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Lagos AHAPN, Pharm. (Dr) Dupe Oyawole, highlighted the crucial roles of hospital pharmacists in patient care, adding that government should stop seeing pharmacists as mere drugs dispensers, as they are doing much more to achieve best patient outcomes.
“Apart from pharmaceutical care and ensuring patients take their drugs accordingly, pharmacists also help them to get medications they would ordinarily not be able to get. So, the government should treat pharmacists as a first-class group of professionals that are unique and specialists in terms of drugs,” she said.
Oyawole also charged her members with the creation of more compounding units in hospitals and other health institutions, saying this will help to bridge gaps in medicines availability and boost local drug manufacturing.
According to her, “What we hope to achieve is to make more hospitals and institutions start doing compounding because some don’t. And that’s one of the reasons why we brought in experts to talk to us in form of practical demonstrations.
“In a nutshell, we intend to use this event to inspire more hospitals and institutions to be doing more of this, to ensure medicines security for our patients, especially patients that need formulations that we can’t readily get. This helps us play our role more in the hospital setting.”
The keynote speaker, Pharm. (Dr) Titilayo Onedo, assistant director of Pharmacy, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, and coordinator, of AHAPN Day, explained that the event was meant to remind hospital pharmacists of their crucial roles, as well as to mobilize them to sustain their relevance through their professional contributions.
Onedo mentioned that pharmacists can actually make drugs for local consumption, which can lead to self-sufficiency and ultimately, exportation. She stressed the need for pharmacists to start maximizing available opportunities.
She said, “I believe pharmacists are making their impacts felt now by going beyond what we used to do in the past. Listening to the robust discussions generated at this event is indeed a very good job.
“I also believe that pharmacists have the capacity to produce APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) which will go a long way in catering to our local needs, in case of another pandemic.
“Every pharmacy must as a matter of urgency start having compounding units which will actually distinguish us from the others.”
In her presentation, Pharm. (Mrs) Oyinlade Kehinde, assistant director of Pharmacy, Child and Adolescents Unit, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, examined the frequent abuse and misuse of prescribed medications by patients.
She particularly described the abuse and misuse of Prescription Only Medicines (POM) as a growing problem.
According to her, “We do not know the magnitude of the problem today because of lack of data for the abuse and misuse of these medications, even globally. Also, the existence of many gaps in monitoring these medications from the manufacturers to the end-users is a big issue.
“Opportunities and the huge demand for these medications can lead to diversion and counterfeiting. This can actually affect those that need them for their conditions,”.
Suggesting ways to address the problem, Kehinde said, “Pharmacists need to go for continuous training in order to detect patients that have been misusing drugs, as well as to know how to prevent and manage it. They should screen patients when there are signs of abuse and misuse of drugs.
“Commitment to anti-microbial stewardship is another way in which abuse can be curbed. As pharmacists, it is our duty to educate patients about safeguarding their medications because they are not meant to be shared. We should also identify patients with repeated loss of medicated descriptions.
“We should also make a habit of collecting data for research purposes and future prevention methods and policies.”
The high point of the event was the practical demonstrations of drug compounding by different pharmacists from different hospitals in the state.
The first demonstration was on compounding methyl salicylate ointment by pharmacists from the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi; while pharmacists from Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) demonstrated the production of an alcoholic solution of Iodine chloroxylenol solution. The third demonstration was the presentation of single syrup B.P. sweetener by Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) pharmacists.