PWDAN Tasks FG on Strengthened Pharma Supply Chain, Medicine Security

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Mr Oladepo Lawal-Solarin, a speaker at the event, receiving a plaque from Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, chairman of the occasion, and Pharm. Ernest Okafor, chairman, PWDAN 

The leadership of the Pharmaceutical Wholesalers and Distributors Association of Nigeria (PWDAN) as well as eminent pharmacists in the country, have tasked the Federal Government on the need to strengthen the fragmented pharmaceutical supply chain in the country, in order to ensure an efficient and effective drug management system,

They maintained that a well-ordered pharmaceutical wholesale distribution system remains the hub and without doubt occupies a pivotal position.

Speaking recently at the 2nd Annual National Conference of PWDAN, with the theme “Strengthening the Pharma Supply Chain: Panacea to Good Distribution and Medicine Security”, held at Marriot Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, the National Chairman of the Association, Pharm. Ernest Okafor, noted that contrary to the expectation of a formidable supply value chain, the segment is now harbouring a great percentage of infractions as recorded.

The PWDAN boss noted that the theme of the conference was specially chosen to continue the discourse on how effective, good distribution practices in both private and public sectors of healthcare can promote efficacious, quality and safe drugs in the country.

According to him, “One of the cardinal objectives of PWDAN is to change the narrative, by bringing the pharma supply chain in Nigeria to a new era of global best practice through good distribution practice, benchmarking and collaborating with value chain stakeholders and regulators”.

In his speech, Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, former president, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and chairman of the event, stated that the central focus of the theme revolves around two major areas, one is regularising the value chain of core drug distribution and attaining national medicine security.

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The value chain of drug distribution, Akintayo said has always been chaotic in the country, adding that stakeholders have talked about the problem for over 60 years and it still exists. “We have always said this problem is caused by the peculiar nature of drug distribution which is through an open drug market.And one of the things we fashioned out some 8 years ago was the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG), which was meant to facilitate the relocation of operators in the open market to what will stand as National Coordinated Wholesale Centres”.

He continued, “We started with the four most prominent markets – Lagos which is Idumota, Head bridge in Onitsha, Sabon-gari in Kano, and Ariara in Aba, but today, I can put on record that Kano has come up with their Coordinated Wholesale Centre, Lagos is a work in progress; Onitsha has a location but not yet started, but Ariara has not gotten off the ground at all. The government needs to enforce these things as we cannot continue our various policy somersaults because it is key to the survival of our people”.

He however warned against the danger of leaving the distribution and manufacturing chain of the country’s drug needs in the hands of foreigners, adding that one of the fallouts from the mega wholesaling arrangement is that some foreign companies have hijacked the process presently.

“So our regulators have to come alive, empowering foreign companies to the detriment of the local manufacturers is detrimental to Universal Health Coverage. These guys make all the money shift them to their countries and we keep talking about capital flights. There is nowhere in the world that these things happen”.

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Speaking in the same vein, the National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, noted that without an association like PWDAN, whatever pharma products the citizens are getting through the supply chain would not be credible, saying pharmaceuticals are not ordinary items of trade.

He continued, without a body like PWDAN, we cannot be saying we are getting the structure of pharmaceutical distribution right, and linking it to medicine security, it means we should be sure of the source of every commodity that Nigerians are consuming, and if that structure is not clear, we cannot say we have the security of medicines in Nigeria.

The ACPN boss who described the NDDG as a good policy

but poorly implemented, said Nigeria is a beautiful country, made up of very intelligent human resources with excellent knowledge in crafting an idea, but implementation is the problem.

In his goodwill message, the Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed, who was represented at the event by Solomon Shiihii, deputy director, Inspection, Monitoring and Quality Assurance Unit, Lagos zonal office, noted that the theme of the conference was apt, adding that Nigeria and the rest of the Sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing challenges in the pharmaceutical supply chain, especially with the global sourcing of active and inactive pharmaceutical ingredients in addition to the emergence of biopharmaceuticals.

Speaking on the achievement of PCN, Pharm. Ahmed said it’s no longer news but its worth sharing that PCN has established a stable well-functioning integrated regulatory system, and improved capacity for efficiency and effectiveness, adding that it is also worthy of note that it is working assiduously toward attaining maturity level 4, which is the advance level of performance and continuous improvement

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“Additionally, in the same fit, PCN has gained ISO certification and is now a Quality Management System (QMS) driven organisation for regulatory systems strengthening. We now have DG NAFDAC as a council member- this will foster more collaboration between the PCN and NAFDAC in addressing drug distribution issues”, he said.

He continued, “The Registrar is no longer just a secretary to the Council but a member of the council- This empowers the registrar to contribute to discussions during the council meeting, educating the Council members better, for informed decisions. Revocation of licenses by the registrar- This means there is legal backing for the revocation of licenses. Stakeholders that have chosen to do things the wrong way may have their licenses revoked by the registrar.

“I wish to inform you that the Federal High Court, on 30 June, 2023, in Kano, dismissed the suit challenging the directives of the PCN to the owners of all drug shops in the open market to close down their operations and relocate to the newly commissioned Coordinated Wholesales Centres (CWC).

Other stakeholders at the event include Pharm. Okey Akpa, managing director, SKG; Mr Oladepo Lawal-Solarin; Pharm. (Mrs) Fadeke Adeyemi; Pharm. Ukagha Igwe; Pharm. (Mrs) Bunmi Olugbeja; Pharm Azuka Okeke, executive officer, Africa Resource Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Management, who was represented by Dr Stephaine Oluyide; Mr Femi Soremekun, managing director, Biofem; Pharm. Bode Ogunjemiyo, chairman, AHAPN; Pharm. Victor Adekanye, WWCVL; Pharm. Chris Ehimen, Nett Pharmacy; Pharm. Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, former national chairman, ACPN; among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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