National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu and National Chairman, Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN), Pharm. Joseph Madu, have condemned the statement allegedly made by a pharmacy manager that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid treatment, but to only sell medicines.
The pharmacy experts, who categorically decried the statement as unacceptable from a community pharmacist, said first aid treatment or wound dressing is one of the basics of pharmaceutical care and an obligation of community pharmacists, as directed by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria 4 Part Compendium on Pharmaceutical Care in Nigeria.
Pharmanews investigations revealed that the expression was allegedly made by the manager of a registered pharmacy (name withheld) on Victoria Island, as reported by a popular actress, Kate Henshaw on her Twitter handle @HenshawKate, on 19 May, 2022.
According to Henshaw, her staff had sustained an injury from an attack on the street, and was taken to the pharmacy but on getting there, the attendant refused to offer first aid treatment to her, saying she could only buy medicines.
Henshaw tweeted: “After she was stabbed in front of some people who saw the whole incident but offered no help, a mobile policeman then took her to [pharmacy name] on Adeola Adeku…She showed her wounds and asked for help.
“They said they don’t treat wounds but that she could buy the items she needed. She then asked them that if she bought, who would help her with the stuff she was told she could buy…no response…She was then helped to a hospital where she got treatment.
“While at the police station, an officer was sent with my staff to invite someone from the pharmacy to tell us what occurred. They refused to come to the station, saying that the people on duty today were not there yesterday (no problem).
“I drove to [pharmacy name] in order to speak to the manager…I asked her why they did not offer first aid, at least, to someone in need of help, she said they are not trained to give first aid, only to sell medicines.”
The tweets went viral shortly afterwards, with many condemning the attitude of the pharmacy management.
In an exclusive interview with the ACPN National Chairman, he expressed outright displeasure at the alleged reaction and remark by the management of the concerned pharmacy, saying pharmacy practice has advanced beyond wounds dressing or first aid treatment, which any pharmacist should easily offer without any issue. He reiterated that pharmacists are, in fact, currently certified to administer vaccines, and offer pharmaceutical care to patients.
He explained further that even for pharmacists who might not have been able to receive all trainings from the four walls of a university the association has been organising continuous education to educate members on their practice.
He however said professionals are at liberty to choose the type of care they want to provide.
According to Oladigbolu, “Pharmacists can dress wounds, pharmacists are certified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and there are lots of other things pharmacists can do for patients.
“But to say that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid treatment is a lie.
“No group of professional receives all the trainings they need from the four walls of university; that is why we organise trainings for pharmacists from time to time.”
Also speaking with Pharmanews, CPAN National Chairman, Dr Madu, corroborated his counterpart’s views, saying it is incredible that the highly commendable statement should have emanated from a pharmacist.
Madu emphatically stated that pharmacy practice is not about selling drugs, as drug dispensing is only a superficial aspect of the practice of the profession.
He said, “First of all, let me say that it is not true that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid, but only trained to sell drugs. Pharmacy practice is not about selling drugs.”
The clinical pharmacist noted that apart from drug discovery, design and manufacturing, which are major roles of pharmacists, direct patient care through clinical pharmacy, also known as pharmaceutical care, is another core aspect of the profession which makes it similar to the sister professions such as Nursing and Medicine with nursing and medical care respectively.
He argued further that while every pharmacy establishment may have its standard operating procedures which may or may not include offering of first aid treatments, it is outrageous to say that pharmacists are not trained to offer the care.
“It is unbelievable that any pharmacist can say that pharmacists are not trained to do that. Most pharmacists have the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD), which is a clinical and professional doctorate obtained after a six-year university academic programme and similar to Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP), Doctor of Optometry (OD), or Doctor of Medicine (MD) as all are patterned towards direct patient care, but vary according to professional roles” he emphasised.
Efforts by our correspondent to get the views of the pharmacist-in-charge of the affected pharmacy, (Mrs) Odunola Oyegade, on the alleged statement proved abortive, as she repeatedly queried the heightened interest in the matter. She added that Kate Henshaw is her client, and she had resolved the issue with her.