Close Open Drug Markets, Preserve Nigerians’ Health, ACPN Tells Tinubu

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Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN, (middle), flanked by Pharm. Bayo Ajiboye, member, CPC; Pharm. (Rev) Daniel Ajayi, chairman, CPC; Pharm. Ezeh Igwekanma, national secretary, ACPN, and Pharm. Mrs Grace Ikani, vice chairman, CPC, at the press briefing.

 

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has made a renewed call to the Federal government, under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, to as a matter of urgency shut all open drug markets in Nigeria, as it is better done now to save the lives of the citizens.

 

The National Chairman of the association, Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, made the statement at a press conference to herald the 42nd Annual Scientific Conference of the association tagged “The Big Heart Conference, scheduled to hold between 31 July to 4 August 2023, at Dome Event Centre, GRA Phase 1, Asaba, Delta State. He urged the Federal Government to be courageous enough to end the open drug markets the way it ended fuel subsidy.

 

The ACPN boss noted that medicine insecurity refers to the inadequate availability, accessibility, and affordability of essential medications to the population, as it’s a matter of utmost importance that affects the well-being and security of the nation's citizens.

 

Speaking further, the number one community pharmacist in the country noted that while our country boasts of a rich heritage in various fields, it is disheartening to witness the detrimental consequences of medicine insecurity on our society, stressing that compromised public health, as well as medicine insecurity, directly impacts the health of the citizens, particularly those with chronic illnesses and vulnerable populations.

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Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN, (middle) flanked by Pharm. (Rev) Daniel Ajayi, chairman, CPC; and Pharm. Ezeh Igwekanma, national secretary, ACPN, at the press briefing.

“The unavailability of essential medications can lead to worsening health conditions, prolonged suffering, and in severe cases, irreversible damage or even loss of life. It also hampers disease prevention efforts, causing the spread of communicable diseases and exacerbating public health crises,” he said.

Oladigbolu, who noted the importance of community pharmacist services for universal health coverage, maintained that the continued existence of open drug markets across the country is an obstacle to achieving the UHC, adding that the markets are not giving any value to the nation as well as citizens, as the products are not regulated.

“If a country does not like us as a nation, all they need to do is to dump one widely used product that is tainted into the open drug markets, once it is distributed nationwide, the result would be needless death across the country. In fact, many are dying of liver disease, kidney failure and many others today from consumption of products that do not pass through regulatory scrutiny before getting to the market,” he said.

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He continued, “Also, so many expired products are been revalidated with dangerous impact on the healthcare of the patients. So, it has been the political will to do the right thing that we are lacking, but now that we have a new government in place, we do hope that the courage they are showing towards repositioning the economy would be extended to healthcare by closing down all the open drug markets once and for all.

 

He further stated that if the open drug markets are closed today, there are credible alternatives in the aspect of technology tools to distribute to the nooks and crannies of the country, adding that the closure would set the pharmaceutical sector in the right direction as drugs would become cheaper by breaking the monopoly which open drug market is enjoying, while the quality of medicine would be guaranteed.

 

While speaking on the upcoming conference, the ACPN boss noted that this year’s theme “Building effective community pharmacy services for universal health coverage” is apt, saying community pharmacists play a vital role in promoting public health and well-being, and their services go beyond dispensing medications as they serve as trusted healthcare providers within communities, offering valuable advice, counselling, and preventive care, adding that with universal health coverage becoming a global priority, it is essential to recognize the significant contribution of community pharmacists and explore ways to enhance their services.

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He also said the conference will bring together renowned experts, policymakers, and community pharmacist representatives to discuss so many key areas in the health sector. “We also hope to highlight the significance of digital health in the practice of community pharmacists and how it can revolutionise the way we deliver healthcare services to our community, and we are hoping to launch the Labeling Machine at this conference,” he said.

 

Other personalities at the press briefing include Pharm. Ambrose Ezeh Igwekanma, national secretary, ACPN; Pharm. (Rev) Daniel Ajayi, chairman, Conference Planning Committee; Pharm. Grace Ikani, vice-chairman, CPC, and Pharm. Bayo Ajiboye, member, CPC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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