Pharma Stakeholders Express Readiness to Collaborate on Restructuring Nation’s Drug Distribution System

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The various agencies and technical bodies in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry have stated that they are willing to collaborate towards building a wholesome pharmaceutical products distribution system in the country.

Speaking at the maiden annual conference of the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distribution Association of Nigeria (PDWAN), held in Lagos recently, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), the Association of Industrial pharmacists (NAIP), the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) and others specifically stated that they are ready to work with PDWAN to bring normalcy to the present chaotic drug distribution system.

In   her remarks at the event, which had the theme “Pharmaceutical Supply Chain in Nigeria – Quo Vadis”, the Director General, NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who was represented by Dr Monica Eimunjeze, NAFDAC’s director of registration and regulatory affairs, said the agency had done a lot in the area of drug distribution among which is supply chain visibility. She however admitted that the nation’s drug distribution system needed to improve through the effort of all stakeholders in the industry.

Adeyeye emphasised that standard distribution practice is the focus of the agency, adding that this is still a work in progress.

The NAFDAC DG, who was also one of the panelists at the event stated that the agency is willing to work with all the stakeholders in the industry to achieve the desired standard drug distribution practice for the country.

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On his part, the immediate past Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Dr Elijah Mohammed, who was represented by the new registrar, Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed, pointed out that the government had been making frantic efforts to achieve seamless and efficient drug distribution system in the country, noting however that some stakeholders in the industry had been resisting the move.

The registrar who was also one of the panelists at the forum, noted, as an example, that the government had been making effort to shut the open drug markets and replace them with the establishment of distribution centres in various regional locations in the country.

According to him, locations had been set aside in Lagos, Kano and Anambra States, adding that the Kano centre was set for commissioning and efforts were in place to get things done in other centres.

Mohammed said that the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), first released in March, 2011 and later updated in December 2012 as NDDG 2, is still much in place and the government is ready to work with stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry to implement the policy.

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Also speaking, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PCN), Professor Cyril Usifoh, described PWDAN as a child of necessity that had come up to standardise pharmaceutical product distribution in Nigeria.

Usifoh, who was represented at the event by the National Treasurer of PSN, Pharm. Gafar ‘Lanre Madehin, commended the effort of the association since inception, noting that efforts were ongoing in the right direction to perfect the nation’s drug distribution system.

Earlier in his opening address, the National Chairman of PWDAN, Pharm. Ernest Okafor, assured that the association would work with all stakeholders in the industry to achieve its set aims and objectives in ensuring that sanity is established in the drug supply chain in Nigeria.

Similarly, the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Lere Baale, pointed out that drug distribution is the most important factor and number one challenge facing pharmaceutical product marketing not just in Nigeria but in Africa.

He therefore urged PDWAN to address the drug distribution challenge, while calling on the leadership of the association to be consistent in its quest to sanitise the drug distribution system in the.

Baale also charged the PWDAN’s leadership to put measures in place to extend its reach to other Africa countries, with a view to becoming an African arm of the global drug distribution body.

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In his remarks, the National Chairman, Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP), Pharm. Ken Onuegbu also commended PDWAN for coming up with initiative to put things right in the drug supply chain.

He said, “What you are doing is complementary to what NAIP stands for.  It will go a long way to put the industry in good shape. We will continue to work with PDWAN to achieve efficient drug distribution.”

The National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu, expressed optimism that with PDWAN working with ACPN, the drug distribution system in the country will get better.

The managing director, SKG, Dr Okey Akpa, who was represented by the managing director, May & Baker, Pharm. Patrick Ajah, said during the panel discussion that drug distribution costs a lot of money, noting that if drug wholesalers were stationed in various strategic locations in the country, it would solve the problem of drug distribution in the country.

He also noted that closing the existing open drug markets when there is no alternative yet would only create more problems.

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