– Urges PCN to make DMU compulsory for accrediting faculties of pharmacy
The Faculty of Pharmacy, Bayero University, Kano, has concluded plans to establish a Drug Manufacturing Unit (DMU) within the school premises, so as to advance the quality of students’ training.
Disclosing this to Pharmanews in an interview recently, the Dean of the Faculty, Dr Malami Sani, said the faculty is also working to set up a Drug Information Centre (DIU) that will be accessible to students, as well as the general public.
According to Sani, the DMI will serve as a centre for training and research for the PharmD students to acquire entrepreneurial and pharmaceutical care skills for the purpose of advancing pharmacy practice and self-sufficiency after graduation.
The dean added that the DIC will function as a pivotal public pharmacy hub to provide evidence-based drug information to the public, including healthcare professionals, across the country.
He also disclosed that the management of the university had given approval for the commencement of the projects, adding that work would begin any moment soon.
Sani further stated that the university is leaving no stone unturned to raise the bar of pharmacy education in the country.
He said: “In addition to the approval for the commencement of the Drug Manufacturing Unit and the Drug Information Centre, the university has approved an additional building facility to the faculty as pre-incubation centre for phytomedicine research and development. Also, to support preclinical drug discovery and development, the university facilitated creation of standard Animal House facility towards ensuring availability of animals for biomedical researches within Bayero University and beyond.”
He pointed out that the major strength of the faculty is the idealisation and internalisation of the concept of Research and Development (R&D) as an index for effective and impactful nation-building and development in all aspects.
According to the dean, a research team in the faculty recently identified, validated, standardised and documented the profile of a selected plant remedy useful in the treatment of malaria, saying funding is currently being sought towards its development to a suitable dosage form.
Speaking further on the research works in the faculty, Sani said: “Currently, two major researches are being conducted in the area of malaria and diabetes, funded by Tetfund, through National Research Fund (NRF). The former is looking at the challenges in the chaotic supply and distribution of antimalarial drugs (ACTs) in northern Nigeria, with a view to provide evidence-based scientific explanation for the currently observed treatment failures by the use of ACTs, as the approved treatment option for malaria.
“The one on diabetes is aimed at product development of plant origin in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Additionally, there are three other works being funded by the university through local Tetfund research intervention; they are focusing on the therapeutic potential of different medicinal plants with an aim to provide scientific information on their efficacy and safety.”
The dean urged the government and other relevant stakeholders in the country to support Research and Development (R&D) towards pharmaceutical production and phytomedicine development from the available and untapped local contents of natural origin.
“Government agencies, such as National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), should collaborate more with academia towards achieving formidable development in the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. This will strengthen the university training and make it more impactful and problem-solving. Local contents of pharmaceutical relevance, especially from natural sources, should be explored maximally”, Sani said.
He also lamented the nation’s overdependence on imported drugs, pointing that the situation has been a serious challenge to accessibility, availability and affordability of essential medicines in the country. He added that this has also been responsible for the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard drugs in the country.
According to the dean, one of the necessary measures in curtailing the overdependence on importation of drugs in the country and ensure availability of genuine drugs is to change the dynamics of the present pharmacy education and training.
He said: “Students should be exposed to hands-on skills and all necessary tools as part of core modules in their professional training. This was one of the reasons the Faculty of Pharmacy at BUK, under my leadership, proposed the creation of the Drug Manufacturing Unit (DMU) to serve as a production outlet of some basic and essential pharmaceutical products. The vision of this DMU is to target the pharmaceutical distribution chain in northern Nigeria and beyond.
“It is with respect to this that I recommended to the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), as the professional regulator of pharmacy training and practice, to consider making drug manufacturing outlet a mandatory accreditation requirement for all faculties of pharmaceutical science in Nigeria.
“To achieve this, the faculties need the support of all stakeholders, especially NAFDAC, to view such initiative as training hub for pharmacy students, with initial limited resources and therefore requiring incubation time for it to grow. Thus, necessary and possible waivers are needed to actualise this mission”.