Managing Director of JNC International, a pharmaceutical company, Clare Omatseye, has called for a functional pharmaceutical supply chain to ensure consistent flow of affordable medicine in Nigeria.
Omatseye made the call at the inauguration of the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria in Ikeja, Lagos.
She spoke as a keynote speaker at the inauguration on the ‘Supply chain in contemporary health services: The disruption.”
This is even as a former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Dr. Ahmed Yakasai, urged PWDAN urged to work assiduously to achieve the association’s objectives.
Omatseye said that drug distribution process in the country was chaotic, porous and under serious threat in terms of drug security.
“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.
“In my opinion and based on other reports, our drug distribution in the country is under a serious threat due to the porous and chaotic ways things are being run.
“The objective of what we are talking about today is access to quality healthcare that is affordable, efficacious and effective,” she said.
Suggesting the best way to achieve consistent flow of affordable drugs in the country, Omatseye said, “The only way we can overcome these challenges of chaotic drug distribution is to be self-sufficient through local production.
“Our healthcare system was exposed during the height of COVID-19 pandemic, and it shows our fragmented system as it is, because there was already shortage of pharmaceuticals consumables.
“We should not be dependent on other nations for drugs; we need to have our own raw materials, packaging materials and other needed essentials.
“Any nation that is import-dependent cannot talk about drug security.”
According to her, the country is suffering from two drains which involve both medical personnel and patients.
“As a country, we have suffered from two types of drains, because, prior to COVID-19 pandemic, every week, about six doctors left the country to look for greener pasture.
“We also have patient drain, because people travel abroad to seek medical care, and this amounts to a lot of money every year.
“If the money is spent on the country, it will be a major boost to our healthcare system,” she said.
Omatseye then urged PWDAN to be goal-oriented and be a solid advocate for pharmacists and patients, with the aim of promoting accessible and affordable healthcare for Nigerians.
Also, while speaking, Yakasai said that PWDAN intends to restore sanity and integrity to pharmaceutical supply chain in the country.
“We know the problem of drug distribution in Nigeria, and I think now is the time to put an end to the problem. I expect PWDAN members to remain committed to their objective and goals in everything they do, and they must work with other bodies to achieve their aim,” he said.
Yakasai advised pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers to embrace blockchain technology. “We cannot shy away from blockchain technology; we have to go through the rigours to learn about blockchain technology from manufacturers to end-users.
“We must be IT-driven in whatever we want to do as practitioners in this field or we will remain in the analogue stage,” he said.
Yakasai also called for concerted efforts to meet the deadline of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines of the Federal Government.
NAN reports that Federal Government released the NDDG in 2012 to address the challenges of drug supply chain and ensure that medicine that gets to consumers are effective, qualitative, safe and affordable.