Okafor, Omaruaye, Others Canvass End to Chaotic Drug Distribution

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…As they officially unveil PWDAN in Lagos

Okafor, Omaruaye, Others Canvass End to Chaotic Drug Distribution
L-R: Pharm. (Mrs) Adenike Abdul-Azeez, chairman, Standardisation Committee, and managing director, Pharmforte Network Limited; Pharm. Olaide Soetan, secretary, PWDAN, and managing director, NHC Pharmaceutical Limited; Pharm. Ernest Okafor, Chairman, PWDAN, and managing director, Nemitt Pharmaceuticals Limited; Pharm. Rosemary Nikoro, a Fellow of the PSN, and a trustee member of the board; Pharm. Ogeneochuko Omaruaye, vice-chairman, PWDAN, and managing director, New Height Pharmaceuticals Limited, at the press briefing.

Worried by the chaotic drug distribution channels in the country, which is fast becoming a threat, being  characterised by the handling of medicines by non-professionals, circulation of fake and adulterated drug, poor storage conditions, treatment failures, among others, the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN), has called for urgent steps to be taken towards addressing the issue, describing it as one of the major challenges confronting Pharmacy practice in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the association, Pharm. Ernest Okafor, noted while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Lagos that lack of political will on the part of the government has remained unchanged amidst the development and best practices required by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Speaking further, Okafor, who is the managing director, Nemitt Pharmaceuticals, noted that wholesaling and distribution as positioned in the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), is very critical to ensuring an effective and efficient delivery between the manufacturers and patients, adding that good partnership between the association and the regulatory agencies will boost pharmaceutical services and ultimately improve healthcare delivery

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On the official unveiling of the association, Okafor, a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria explained that with the increasing number of pharmacists in the country, a career path is evolved to professionalise Pharmaceutical Wholesale and Distribution as recognised, hence the need to have PWDAN.

According to him, “About three years ago, a group of like-mind pharmacists burdened by the unwholesome state of the drug distribution in the country came together to challenge the system, and in  contributing to the sanitizing and strengthening the pharmaceutical supply chain, PWDAN was promoted, but today, it is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, with aims and objectives to foster and promote best practices in the pharmaceutical supply chain and contribute to the advancement of supply chain integrity in pharmaceutical practice in all its ramifications,” he said.

He continued, “We intend to achieve this by maintaining ethical standard in the distribution of drugs from the manufacturer to the consuming public for the well-being of the average Nigerians and the economy. Thus, this action portends to enhance access to safe, quality and affordable medicines to the population and in safeguarding public health, and our association tends to develop digital business network to achieve greater visibility, efficiencies and agility in the pharmaceutical supply chain with emerging positive impact on reducing faking and distribution of unwholesome medicines in Nigeria.

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Also speaking at the press briefing was the Vice-Chairman, Pharm. Ogeneochuko Omaruaye, who is also the managing director, New Height Pharmaceuticals Limited, noted that the association has come to change the narratives in the aspect of drug wholesaling and distribution in the country, adding that it is no longer business as usual in the sector.

Speaking further, Omaruaye said the growth of the wholesale distribution sector of the pharmaceutical supply chain is hampered by poor infrastructure as evidenced in power, water, transportation and unsteady foreign exchange rate. He however disclosed that as a good way to start, the association has developed a code of conduct among its members for adoption in their facilities and practices to benchmark the best practices in drug distribution.

He said PWDAN is currently partnering with NAFDAC and PCN, to achieve WHO prequalification in global Good Pharmaceutical Distribution Practice (GPDP), saying it intends to organise annually, workshops and seminars that promote global best practices in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

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For Pharm. (Mrs) Rosemary Nikoro, a Fellow of the PSN, and a trustee member of the board of the association, the launch of PWDAN will go a long way to promote affordable channel to genuine drugs by the consuming public.

Speaking on the official launch of PWDAN, the chairman, Pharm. Okafor noted that the association will be formally launched on 26, May 2021 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, under the chairmanship of the Director General, NDLEA, Brig-Gen Buba Marwa, and with the theme “Supply Chain in Contemporary Health Services- the Disruption”, which will be delivered by the Pharm. (Mrs) Clare Omatseye, a technocrat, and the former president of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria.

Other members of the executive at the press briefing are Pharm. Olaide Soetan, secretary, PWDAN, and managing director, NHC Pharmaceutical Limited, and Pharm. (Mrs) Adenike Abdul-Azeez, chairman, Standardisation Committee, and managing director, Pharmforte Network Limited.

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