Lagos ACPN Seeks Full Implementation of PCN Act


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Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, chairman, ACPN, Lagos Chapter, (middle), flanked by the Vice Chairman, Pharm. Paul Owolabi, and Secretary, Pharm. Charles Oyeniyi.

Rising from its 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held, Wednesday at the indoor hall of the Pharmacy Villa, Ogudu, Lagos State Chapter of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has called for the full implementation of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) Law to enable the regulatory arm of the council, Pharmaceutical Inspection Committee (PIC) discharge its duty effectively.

Speaking at the AGM, the Chairman of the Association, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the PCN Act of 2022, but called for full implementation of the law with regard to the Pharmaceutical Inspection Committee, PIC, which is responsible for regulating pharmacy practices in Nigeria, especially community pharmacy practices.

He said the law strengthens PIC to regulate hospital pharmacy practice both in private and public areas, for good pharmaceutical practice in Nigeria. “The law empowers PIC to prevent unregistered pharmacies from practising. It also allows PIC to regulate anywhere drugs are stored in Nigeria. If implemented, the value chain of drug distribution will be safer.

“The healthcare budget in Nigeria is yet to attain the WHO recommendation of 15 per cent. A good healthcare system with a good drug distribution system is paramount for healthy citizens. We are appealing to the new government, coming 29 May, 2023, to make sure that the health budget receives the statutory mandate of 15 per cent so that Nigerians can be healthy and contribute their own quota towards nation building”, he stated.

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A cross-section of the Lagos ACPN members at the AGM

The ACPN boss also appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the exorbitant amount of money demanded by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to carry out their statutory mandate of destroying expired drugs.

According to him, for NAFDAC to demand money to destroy the drugs after they had already lost money through expiration would amount to double jeopardy.

Lawrence, who appealed to NAFDAC to revisit its position, said failure to do so may encourage sharp practices that can put the lives of Nigerians at risk.

“We decided to voluntarily bring out these expired drugs to be destroyed by NAFDAC as professionals.” There are so many other outlets in open drug markets that do not carry out this exercise. But in a situation where we try to do the right thing and we are slammed with heavy fines for doing the right thing, is not acceptable to us.

“We are calling on NAFDAC and the Ministry of Health to look into this issue and ensure that community pharmacists get their expired drugs destroyed seamlessly. NAFDAC should mop up expired products so that dubious people will not go ahead to revalidate the expired products and push it back into society because if there are difficulties in the destruction of these expired drugs, we are by extension endangering the lives of Nigerians”, he explained.

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Also speaking, the Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Lagos State Branch, Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, admonished the government to desist from choosing doctors as favourites among the healthcare professionals, saying the delivery of healthcare services cannot be championed by only one professional group.

“Our expectation is that a good administrator should be allowed to oversee the affairs of the health sector at the federal and state levels. What is killing healthcare delivery in Nigeria is the mistake of entrusting health sacred affairs into the hands of doctors. For example, the Director General of WHO is not a medical doctor, he is a biologist”, he noted.

In her contribution, Chairman, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State branch, Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh, said that the forex scarcity is affecting the pharmacists’ operation in Nigeria as the cost of drugs keeps rising on a daily basis.

She bemoaned the situation where some products are not presently available in the country because the pharma companies have not been able to bring them in. Also, the current business environment is eroding our capital on a daily basis, which is likely going to make access to certain drugs difficult, she lamented.

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She regretted that the country is not making efforts to be drug self-sufficient in terms of local production, with “almost 70 per cent of the drugs we use in Nigeria are imported, which does not make sense for medicine security in Nigeria”.

The petrochemical industry, she said, must be working to enable manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. The issue of chaotic drug distribution has not been properly addressed, which continues to encourage fake drugs to thrive, she further stated.

According to her: “Regulators need to wake up, it is not enough to make policies; it must be backed with action. How long are we going to be on the implementation of National Drug Distribution Guidelines? Kano has proven that what the government wants to do in terms of a coordinated wholesale centre is possible”.

The high point of the programme was the re-election of the executive members of the association for the next one year.






















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