The Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), has revealed plans to set up a small scale drug production unit within the faculty, to enhance the training of students and subsequently produce drugs for commercial purpose.
Acting Dean of the faculty, Professor Oluyemisi Adebowale Bamiro, disclosed this in a recent interview with Pharmanews, noting that the faculty values innovations and balanced training of students.
Bamiro explained that the faculty recently got some equipment from the university which will go a long way in enhancing students’ training, adding that members of the faculty are currently embarking on research works in various areas, including sourcing of excipients from locally available materials.
She expressed optimism that the research works will add value to the pharmacy profession when completed.
The acting dean said: “We are planning on collaborating with pharmaceutical industries and also to set up a small scale manufacturing section in the faculty. The faculty believes that by having this small scale manufacturing unit, it will enhance the training of our students and at the same time it can be of benefit to the teaching hospital and also generate income for the faculty.
“We all have to start looking inward now because the government is not forthcoming. The long term goal and benefit of the proposed factory is enormous. If the factory is well managed, we can be producing drugs for most of the government hospitals in the state and it will also serve as a sort of internship centre for our students.”
Professor Bamiro noted that lack of fund remains the biggest challenge facing faculties of pharmacy and other research institutions across the country, a situation she said has been hampering the nation’s development. She urged the government to release funds to the various faculties of pharmacy to enable them embark on research that will encourage innovation and enhance drug development.
While speaking on COVID-19 and the seeming inability of Nigerian researchers to come up with an acceptable remedy for the pandemic, Bamiro blamed the government for not living up to expectations in providing the enabling environment and the needed funding that will facilitate the necessary research efforts.
She remarked: “Government is the problem here. Funds are to be made available to carry out studies on herbal remedies that can relief COVID-19 symptoms. It is quite expensive to carry out experimental studies. Government needs to assist us in doing this. We are trying in our own little capacity by using money from our meagre salaries for research works, but it has not really been easy.
“Some staff and I did a review on identifying some ethnobotanical plants in Africa that can be used in the prevention, management and cure of coronavirus but there is limited funding to pursue many of such moves by researchers to a logical conclusion.”
The professor however urge pharmacists not to be discouraged by the various challenges contending with their efforts in the country. She charged pharmacists in academia, in particular, not to relent in imparting their students with good quality knowledge that will enable them to compete favourably with their counterparts in the western world.
“For the pharmacist on the field, I want to urge them to put everything they were taught in school into practice, among which is compounding in hospitals. As a pharmacist, those things you were taught in the school are some of the things that make you stand out as a professional”, the acting dean advised.