PSN Set to Legalize Drug Revolving Fund in Teaching Hospitals, Medical Centres

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While awaiting the approval of the Pharmacists Council Bill by the National Assembly, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, and his cohorts have decided to do something more unique by setting up a policy to legalize drug revolving fund (DRF) scheme in teaching hospitals and medical centres in the country.

Ohuabunwa made the disclosure at the PSN Bi-monthly Virtual Town Hall Meeting, held on Wednesday, 07 July, 2021, saying with the cooperation of Dr Kingsley Amibor, the chairman of the Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) and other colleagues, they have decided to go ahead with it. He added that with the new policy in place, it is no longer a discretionary thing for teaching hospitals, and medical centres to run the system.

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Pharm.(Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa

Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) is a system whereby the revenue generated from the sale of drugs to patients is used to purchase new drugs and ensure availability, effective and efficient system. Its scheme focus is to ensure the sustainability and continuity of the essential drugs programme.

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“This is going to be a big one and we have decided to embark on it nevertheless. We know it is not easy to pass on a bill in the national assembly, however we have decided to do this and we believe the outcome will be a good one,” he said.

Ohuabunwa also stated that in consultation with all parties, pharmacists and people in high authority, they have been able to reach an agreement with executives of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to give pharmacists a greater control in the scheme. Adding that it is one area they have all complained about. “We are glad it has finally come to pass as it is a combination of all efforts. Past and present presidents and even the NHIS secretary who is more understanding”.

“We are planning to introduce the drug management organization, which is more like the HMOs. This is a mega distributor who would now be the intermediary between pharma industry and facilities providing services for insured patients”, he explained.

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He also mentioned that some of their colleagues in ACPN are working hard to push through this matter. Noting that, in doing so, Ohuabunwa and his team have insisted that whatever organization that will be doing this must be an organization that has been registered with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).

“It must be in the business of drug distribution and not opportunist or fly by night distributors,” he stated.

“There is an ongoing case where we find out that anytime they pass out a bill, we are mostly squeezed with other healthcare workers or they don’t ever remember us at all. This made us to call out a standing committee to correct that. We are trying to increase our vigilance because so many things are happening in the national assembly,” he stated.

Ohuabunwa also mentioned that the country is losing out because they keep forgetting pharmacists whenever they are deliberating on important matters that involve the healthcare.

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“Imagine critical people holding the function of ensuring quality medicine are produced, procured, dispensed, utilized, maximized and monitored in a manner to ensure maximum benefit to the patient are the ones that are not taken seriously, something must be done” he added.

“This certainly means all the investment used in training pharmacists will just end up wasting if they can’t be used appropriately. Most jobs cannot be done by any other health care professionals with the same amount of professionalism as pharmacists”.

He also used the opportunity to thank God for the opportunity given to him for this regular interaction as it shows accountability and be able to support this profession.

While advising the pharmacists, Ohuabunwa encouraged them that wherever you are, they must represent the profession by raking individual responsibility.

“He said with the way you conduct yourself, respect is earned and it is earned by educative deliberate way. Pharmacists must create value and the value must be distinct,” he noted.

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