– As PWDAN inaugurated in Lagos
Key stakeholders in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, including Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retired), director-general, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); and Pharm. Clare Omatseye, former chairman, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, have called for a holistic sanitisation of the pharmaceutical supply chain landscape in Nigeria, saying this is a major step towards ensuring consistent flow of quality and affordable medicines across the country.
The experts made the call at the recent inauguration of the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN), in Ikeja, Lagos. PWDAN, according to information provided by its chairman, Pharm. Ernest Okafor, was established to foster and promote best practices in the pharmaceutical supply chain and contribute to the advancement of supply chain integrity in pharmaceutical practice.
While speaking at the inauguration, the NDLEA boss, who was represented by the immediate past President of the PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai said he was happy with the inauguration of PWDAN, saying he was confident that the association would help restore sanity and integrity to the pharmaceutical supply chain in the country.
According to Marwa, the problem of drug distribution in Nigeria had been protracted and should become history with the birth of PWDAN.
He said: “I am delighted to chair this event and I find it resourceful that the association is coming at this time with a very laudable objective and a clear vision and mission, which is to build integrity in the supply chain. Their mission is to bring sanity to the pharma supply chain which is currently porous and chaotic while delivering quality drugs to the Nigerian populace.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Mazi Ohuabunwa, who was represented by the Deputy President, PSN, Pharm. (Mrs) Ejiro Foyibo, said the Society was happy that pharmacy professionals were beginning to take over what rightfully belongs to them from the charlatans.
According to him: “One of the major challenge that we have in the pharmaceutical space in Nigeria is the distribution and if pharmacists have decided to take what belongs to them, I think it’s worth commendation. It is also more dignifying to buy from a pharmacist wholesaler than buying from a non-professional, because a pharmacist would not see it as mere buying and selling but a professional exercise and would offer more than selling the drug”.
Earlier in her keynote address, Pharm. (Mrs) Omatseye, managing director, JNC International, spoke on the topic “Supply chain in contemporary health services: The disruption”, noting that the inauguration of PWDAN at this time was not only timely but historic, as it signals the end of chaotic drug distribution challenges facing the country.
According to her: “We should be able to streamline our drug distribution process in the country, and make sure people have access to quality medicines, vaccines and other pharmaceutical consumables as our drug distribution system in the country is under serious threats due to the porous and chaotic ways things are being run.”
Omatseye further stated that overcoming the chaotic drug distribution challenge would require being self-sufficient through local production, adding that access to quality healthcare that is affordable, efficacious and effective is very important for any country that wants to grow and develop.
In her words: “To go from this the chaotic situation, we need to have a functional system in our supply chain that gives a consistent flow of affordable medicines all the time. The best way to achieve this is local production. How do we get there? There has to be effective distribution of pharmaceuticals, and the onus lies on this association.
“We can continue to import, but it is not sustainable, as we need to have our own raw materials, our own APIs, our own packaging materials, our own production in Nigeria. That is the future of this country because any country that is import-dependent cannot talk about drug security or any form of security.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof Moji Adeyeye, as well as the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. NAE Mohammed urged PWDAN to be goal-oriented and to work in the interest of the healthcare industry in general, with the aim of promoting accessible and affordable healthcare for Nigerians.
Speaking earlier, PWDAN chairman, Pharm. Okafor noted that the inauguration of the association would help to chart the much-desired pathway towards transforming the healthcare system of the nation, saying the challenges in the pharmaceutical supply chain had posed a major burden for many years.
While commending the birth of PWDAN, the national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Dr Samuel Adekola, expressed joy over the new milestone in his tenure.
Adekola urged PWDAN leadership to continue to close ranks and collaborate with the ACPN to achieve the lofty objectives of empowering pharmacists and safeguarding the health of Nigerians.