The Executive Secretary, Katsina State Drugs and Medical Supplies Agency (KtSDMSA), Pharm. Bala Mani Muhammad, has charged pharmacists in Nigeria to take advantage of the huge opportunities in pharmaceutical care supply chain management, describing it as an important and lucrative area in pharmacy practice.
Muhammad made the call while presenting a paper titled, “Improving Quality Pharmaceutical Care through Effective Supply Chain Management”, at the 94th annual conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), held in November, 2021 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He explained that pharmaceutical care involves the provision of quality drugs and ensuring that they are used rationally, thereby avoiding harm, saying the core concern of pharmaceutical care is the utilisation of drugs by pharmacists to achieve therapeutic outcomes. He added, however, that before pharmacists can utilise a drugs for the intended purpose, it must be made available and accessible, which is where supply chain management comes to play.
According to the KtSDMSA scribe, supply chain management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion and all logistics activities, adding that supply chain management also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners which may be suppliers, distributors, service providers and customers.
He explained that logistics, which is a unit of supply chain management, is part of the supply chain process that plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverses flow, storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption, in order to meet customers’ requirements.
Muhammad said: “The aim of any logistics system is to ensure six ‘RIGHTS’ which are referred to as the six rights of logistics system. They are: right product, right quantity, right quality, at the right place, at the right time and right cost.
“You will agree with me that we cannot achieve quality pharmaceutical care without any one of the six ‘rights’. Right products must be provided to achieve any pharmaceutical care. The products are decided by the type of intervention or the outcomes we are trying to achieve. Right quality of the product must be provided to achieve the desired outcome.
“So if after all the counselling, the product in the facility is of poor quality, all the work done will be zero. Right quantity must be provided to ensure complete course, enough dosage or availability for all target population.
“Products should be provided at the right place. Right place for storage, right place for dispensing or at the right place they are required for usage. At the right time, that is, the time it is required for usage, for distribution or for disposal. If products are not provided at the right time, the consequences can be fatal.
“Finally, the supply chain manager must ensure that products come at the right cost. Resources are scarce with unending needs. A good supply chain manager must do all the magic to get commodities at the right cost for sustainability and to achieve the desired coverage with the limited resources.”
Muhammad added that the components of supply chain management follow the logistics cycle, beginning from the serving the customer to product selection, quantification and procurement, then inventory management, which includes storage and distribution, and then back to the serving customer again; adding that the cycle has information management system and other cross-cutting activities like monitoring, evaluation, supervision and staffing at the centre.
He noted that logistics management process involves forecasting, quantification, procurement, warehousing, last mile distribution, usage, disposal and pharmacovigilance.
The KtSDMSA secretary added that to achieve an effective supply chain management in the pharmaceutical care, the supply chain management manager must understand the dynamics of pharmaceutical supply chain management system, develop policies to guide the system, establish appropriate human and financial resources to manage the system and have proper documentation and data management.
He stated that the supply chain management manager in pharma care also needs to employ the available technologies to support the system and also continue to research for the best system.
Muhammad further disclosed that supply chain management is a golden opportunity that pharmacists must not allow to elude them.
“Supply chain management is effective if there is access to quality commodities that are available at all times in a sustainable manner. There is no pharmaceutical care, and, by extension healthcare, without an effective supply chain management. Pharmacists are the undisputed providers of pharmaceutical care. Currently, the health sector is looking towards the pharmacists for the management of the supply chain management system. Pharmacists must therefore take up this opportunity and deliver it properly,” he said.
Muhammad also called on all stakeholders in the health sector to collaborate towards creating an effective pharmaceutical care supply chain management system.
“The Federal Ministry of Health, states Ministry of Health, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Department of Medical Assistance Services and Pharmacists must therefore rally round to succeed in pharmaceutical supply chain management system”, the KtSDMSA scribe said.