Rising from its 2019 Scientific Week programme, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Lagos State chapter, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria, to constitute a Presidential Committee on Drug Distribution in Nigeria, with the responsibility of developing a sustainable reform in the business of patent medicine vending in the country.
The committee, according to the Chairman, Lagos State PSN, Pharm. (Mrs) Bolanle Adeniran, will also have the obligation of enforcing the spirit of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), with particular emphasis on strategies to attain closure of drug markets and achieve the movement to Co-coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWC) now approved in seven city centres of Nigeria.
She further noted that such a committee, which must operate within a timeline, will ensure the passage of the Pharmacy Bill 2017 into an Act of parliament that will rescue Pharmacy practice from extinction.
Adeniran, who made this submission on behalf of the association, during her speech at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Lagos PSN Scientific Week, held at the PSN Secretariat, Ogudu GRA, said patent medicine vending, was introduced to bridge the gap in service rendition to people living in under-served areas, but since it is becoming a threat to practicing pharmacists with endless means of easy access to all categories of medicines, from OTCs to PIMs and other dangerous drugs, it is high time the mechanised is reformed.
Speaking on the theme of the Scientific Week: “Leveraging Digital Technology for Improved Patient Care and Safety- A Disruptive Innovative Approach”, the keynote speaker, Pharm. Inusa Bello, executive director, NTEL, x-rayed the gaps in the Nigerian health sector, which can be bridged by modern digital tools, if only practitioners would take advantage of the tools to upgrade their practice.
A pragmatic Bello, who displayed his dissatisfaction with the performance of his colleagues on leveraging social media platforms for upscaling of their practice, said after conducting his research on the use of internet in Nigeria, it showed that pharmacists have a long way to go in catching up with the trend on social media for their professional development.
Although there are negative disruptions on the internet, which may be scaring some professionally– minded people from its usage, Bello explained that that is not enough excuse for pharmacists to abstain from social media usage, as it has a lot of benefits to offer, regarding pharmacist-patient relationship and engagement.
The NTEL boss thus challenged his associates to do away with their conservative orientation and embrace modern digital tools like e-prescription system, telecare, automated dispensing, bulk sms, and adherence monitoring devices, for the uplifting of their practice in the face of disruptive technology.
Bello also encouraged the pharmacists to get out of their comfort zones and meet the patients where they are in order to profitably engage them for result-oriented discussion, while they can continue their discussion on social media platforms.
He further highlighted strategies that could be employed by community pharmacists to encourage clients’ patronage, such as awareness visit to different associations to enlighten them on the roles of pharmacists in the healthcare team, provision of free services for the benefits of clients, etc.
Also speaking at the event was the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Pharm. NAE Mohammed, who noted that the theme was a contemporary one which stimulates interest and draws attention on how they can deploy digital technology to ensure patients unhindered access to safe, quality and efficacious drug and solve drug therapy problems.
Mohammed, who was represented by Pharm. Yemisi Olalere, highlighted various ways through which the PCN is also leveraging digital technology in the implementation of her regulatory and monitory roles. They include: Introduction of e-registration for pharmacists and pharmaceutical premises; Online access to the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) programmes; Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of pharmaceutical premises; Development of digital based quality assurance and quality improvement tools.
The PCN registrar however noted that most of these initiatives are yet to be completed, while the institution needs fund to complete.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of Community Service Awards, Young Pharmacy Service Award, Academic Pharmacy Service Award to deserving members, with the endorsement of Amatem-Softgel, as an antimalarial of choice by the state branch.