Lagos ACPN Laments Drop in Patronage, Tasks FG on Economic Recovery

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-Elects New Executives, as Ekhator Bows Out for Ajayi

The newly sworn-in Lagos ACPN Chairman, Pharm. Tolu Ajayi, other members of the new executives, and immediate past chairman, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, at the AGM.

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, has decried the negative toll of the plummeting economy on its practice, while it has called on the Federal Government to urgently put proactive measures in place for a sustainable economic recovery.

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the association, held at the indoor hall of the PSN secretariat, Ogudu, Lagos, the immediate past chairman of ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator attributed the current inflation and high interest rate for financing business operations in Nigeria as some of the factors responsible for the challenge of low patronage and profitability at the community pharmacy level.

Speaking further, Ekhator noted that the current economy has been very un-collaborative to community pharmacists, adding that the galloping inflation that the country is currently experiencing is not making the practice profitable. “You buy a product today, and before the end of that day or the next day, the price has changed, and by the time you sell, it would be difficult to restock because of price changes.

Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, immediate past chairman, Lagos ACPN, (Middle), flanked by Pharm. Paul Owolabi, immediate past vice-chairman (left); and Pharm. Charles Oyeniyi, immediate past secretary, at the AGM.

He continued, “Many of our colleagues are finding it difficult to restock because the capital is being eroded by inflation, so this is going to spill over to the consumer. So, we are calling on the Federal Government to quickly nip this in the bud, because we don’t want a situation whereby people are forced to go for inferior products all in the name of not having the purchasing power,” he said.

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“Another policy of the FG that should be reviewed includes import duties from the Customs, as the agency increases import duties daily, which according to them is based on the dollar rate. It should be noted that such would affect the price of drugs. So, we are calling on the government to realise that drugs are essential needs, so its importation, just like food should be put on a special pedestal so that it would be given a special concession”.

The immediate past ACPN boss while reacting to the establishment of a modern pharmaceutical market termed Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC), in Kano State, by the Kano State Government in collaboration with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) through public- private- partnership (PPP), tasked the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, to do the same in Lagos, adding that if truly he is interested in the wellbeing of Lagos populace, the onus is on him to toll the same path Kano took.

Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Gafar Madehin, the national secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), noted that as a member of the ecosystem, the current economy is having a serious impact on the practice, especially at the community level, adding that the continuous changes in prices are taking its toll on the business.

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“The healthcare products that we deal with are majorly imported, so the value of the dollar is affecting the prices, and we have seen over the past two to three months that the prices have not stabilized. On the issue of patronage, healthcare is a basic need of man, so people who need to seek healthcare, still come, but the only impact is that many of them buy less because of financial strength”, he stressed.

”However, on the issue of profitability, this is a trying period for us because when we buy, we put a specific margin of profit, but now what we have discovered is that for the past few months, by the time you sell and you want to restock, you would found out that the prices you are getting the goods have doubled, so in the real sense of the word, profitability is difficult because we have to add more money to restock”.

Speaking on the way forward, the PSN scribe tasked the federal government to pay more attention to the healthcare sector, adding that there are different ways that the healthcare needs of the citizens can be subsidized, including an effective national health insurance policy.

The high point of the event was the tension-soaked election of the executive members of the association for the next dispensation, which saw Pharm. Tolu Ajayi garnered 195 votes to defeat Pharm. Jonah Okotie, who had 74 votes.

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While announcing the result of the election, the Chairman Electoral Committee, Pharm. Celestine Mbamarah noted that the total votes cast were 272, including 3 voided votes.

Other members of the elected executives are Pharm. Charles Oyeniyi, vice chairman; Pharm. Mosunmola Dosumu, secretary; Pharm. Mojisola Aladesanmi, assistant secretary; Pharm. Ezewanne Chukwudi, treasurer; Pharm. Imade Roy-Ekekwe, public relations officer; and Pharm. Chioma Omattah, editor-in-chief.

Speaking after the swearing-in, Ajayi, the new ACPN boss, noted that despite the election, there is no division in the association, as there is no winner and there is no loser, only pharmacy has won. “So I invite everyone to team up with this administration to achieve the change that we desire in Lagos ACPN as we all know that pharmacy flows in our body.

“As vast as Lagos ACPN is, we need to team up and do the work together, as we are here to consolidate on the gains and labour of our heroes past and collaborate to move community pharmacy in Lagos to a greater height. I congratulate everyone here as we have no loser or winner, but the victory belongs to us all” he said.

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