-As ACPN Leadership Visits NAFDAC
The leadership of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has commended the appointment of the Acting Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr Monica Eimunjeze, describing it as putting a round peg in a round hole; as it prayed the Federal Government to confirm her as the substantive DG.
The National Chairman, ACPN, Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, made this remarks during the courtesy visit of the association to the acting DG. He led a team of NEC members, including the National Secretary, Pharm. Eze Ambrose; National Treasurer, Pharm. (Mrs) Omokhafe Ashore; Chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, and Pharm. Jonah Okotie, to visit the newly appointed Ag NAFDAC boss.
Oladigbolu, while commending the newly appointed NAFDAC boss for the warm reception, noted that her responses to the requests of the association were fantastic, adding that she knows what the problems are and that the Federal Government has put a round peg in a round hole by appointing her as the acting DG, as she knows where the problems are and has the capability to solve them.
“So, we only pray to the FG to confirm her appointment as the substantive Director General, NAFDAC”, he said.
The visit, which happened to be the first official visit, made by the ACPN delegation to the NAFDAC Acting DG, since her resumption in office, was well appreciated by the NAFDAC team and utilised for cogent discussion on how to move the agency as well as the pharmacy practice forward.
Presenting the needs of the Association to the DG, Pharm. Oladigbolu pledged the unalloyed support of ACPN to NAFDAC, wishing her an uncommon success story as she steps into the office for the good of the Nigerians, to achieve the safety margin in the regulation of the food and drug sector of the economy.
The ACPN boss while expressing gratitude to NAFDAC for its relentless effort towards ensuring safe and efficacious medicines, technologies and vaccines over the years, however, called for more support and collaboration on sanitizing drug distribution system in Nigeria, and endorsement of technology-enabled supply chain coordination platform.
Speaking further, he said there was a need to redress the challenges associated with the disposal of expired drugs as well as develop a sustainable framework for the handling of service drugs, adding that there is a need for an intensive collaboration with NAFDAC to protect the health of the public.
According to him, there is also a need for collaboration with relevant stakeholders for the review of NDDG, adding that the association wants a closure of open drug markets in Nigeria, saying it’s an aberration that in this century, Nigeria still has open drug distribution system where drugs are exposed to untoward supply chain where drugs are not properly stored, and where drug policy is not respected.
“We should as a matter of urgency close down the open drug system and then we will have less burden of drug issues in our communities and the federal government will spend less money in our hospitals just by simply closing down the open drug markets. I would also like to state that closing down the open drug markets is a public health emergency”, he said.
The ACPN national chairman also said that unbridled distribution of drugs using online platforms is totally condemnable, adding that some of those medicines are outright fake, some have exaggerated claims, while some have not been adequately sourced and well distributed.
He added that buying such medicines online exposes members of the community to a whole lot of dangers, not only are they wasting their resources, but it may also delay them from seeking professional care from pharmacists and hospitals.” So, that is why we have come to say that NAFDAC should put its feet on the ground to ensure that there is controlled medicine distribution through an online platform.
“On drug labelling and classification, there should be ‘Consult Your Pharmacist’ on the primary container of every drug, as well as Pharmacists Initiated Medicines (PIMs), as one of the goals of the National Drug Policy 2022. Regulation of herbal medicine advertisement and the need to make progress on verification of claims, and clinical trials, genomic variations and the need to make progress on verification of claims,” he said
Also speaking, the duo of Pharm. Ezeh and Pharm. Ekhator, noted that the visit was not only necessary but timely, adding that the visit will benefit both the profession and the populace. “We know there is a change of guard in NAFDAC, so we have come to reiterate our requests and we are hopeful that they would be answered”.
In her response, Dr Eimunjeze, acting DG, NAFDAC, while appreciating the ACPN for the visit noted that sanitizing the drug distribution system is one of the key objectives of the agency, adding that on the issue of the NDDG, the agency needs to engage the Federal Ministry of Health to find out the level of implementation and what can be done. “Other issues raised here today shall be discussed at the National Executive Council Meeting and necessary actions shall be taken”, she said.
Recall that following the expiration of the tenure of Prof. Moji Adeyeye, who was appointed in 2017 as the Director General of NAFDAC, she exited the office and an acting head in the person of Dr Monica Eimunjeze, who had previously served as the Technical Assistant to the Director General of NAFDAC and as the Director, Drug Evaluation and Research was appointed for the organisation.