– Writes police boss over members’ harassment, extortion
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter, has berated the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for demanding money before destroying expired drugs, stressing that the “absurd” rule violates global best practice.
Speaking in an interview with journalists during the association’s recently held Annual General Meeting (AGM), the immediate past chairman, Pharm. Olabanji Obideyi, described the development as “double jeopardy”, as pharmacists in Nigeria are compelled to pay before destroying their expired products, not considering the losses they have already incurred.
Obideyi, who disclosed that in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and Ghana, pharmacists who submit expired products are compensated and encouraged to continue doing so for the safety of society, wondered why the Nigerian situation has to be different.
Also speaking on the issue, the Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, described the situation as worrisome, saying pharmacists constantly incur loss of funds invested in their businesses, despite being charged for registration of same products by the regulators, adding that paying again for their destruction is unfortunate.
“What we are saying is that it is not ideal for individual pharmacists to be destroying expired products on their own. The disposal of expired products should be done by the regulator. This is simply because these drugs are chemicals and they will have an impact on the environment. This is why it is ideal for the regulator to be in charge of it; but unfortunately, you will have to be at their mercy to get that done,” Iyiola said.
In another development, Obideyi further disclosed during the AGM, which also served as his handover ceremony, that the association had written the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, over allegations of incessant harassment, intimidation, extortion, blackmail and illegal arrest of its members by police officers.
The former ACPN boss noted that the constant harassment of community pharmacists in the state was becoming unbearable, stressing that the police are not constitutionally empowered to exercise regulatory powers, such as verifying drugs expiration date and ascertaining NAFDAC approval.
He fumed: “When a drug expires, do they know how to go about it? It is not because they really care about the people or that they know anything about healthcare; it is simply because of the money they want to collect.”
Obideyi revealed that the association had submitted a letter to the Commissioner of Police with the belief that the police are for the peace of the society and that they would urgently reply to the letter. ‘
“We want to meet the commissioner, CP Hakeem Odumosu himself, one-on-one, and explain to him that, as a responsible group of professionals, we have never condoned any illegality. All we are doing as pharmacists is to provide wellbeing to the community and take care of people,” he said.