Stabilise Naira, Eliminate Open Drug Markets, ACPN Tasks Tinubu

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…Inaugurates CPC for Oluyole 2024

L-R! Pharm. Omokhafe Ashore, national secretary; Pharm. Grace Ikani, newly inaugurated chairman, CPC; Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Taofik Odukoya, chairman, LOC; and Pharm. Adebayo Gbadamosi, chairman, ACPN, Oyo State, at the inauguration of the Conference Planning Committee for the Oluyole 2024 ACPN Conference, held at the ACPN national secretariat, Lagos.

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to stabilise the naira value, as well as eliminate the activities of unconventional distributors of drugs, in open drug markets to curtail the rising prices of medicines in the country.

Speaking in Lagos at a press conference to inaugurate the Conference Planning Committee (CPC), for the 43rd Annual Scientific Conference of the association, scheduled to be held in Ibadan, Oyo State later in the year, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman of ACPN, noted that the constant depreciation of the naira since June, when the Central Bank of Nigeria allowed a free float of the national currency against the dollar and other global currencies, contributed to the rise in drug prices.

According to him, “As regards the hike in prices, we have observed as an association that those hikes are directly tied to the instability in the foreign exchange market and the devaluation of the naira. These are the two drivers as we encourage the Federal Government to regulate the naira because when it's unstable, the people who are importing will definitely factor the instability into their operations and therefore prices would be high so we want to appeal to them to put things in motion to ensure that our currency is stable”.

The ACPN boss further noted that many drugs, especially for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart conditions, are now both scarce and unaffordable unlike before, saying the scarcity of medicine and hike in the price of medicine, are two issues that are quite worrisome and unfortunate at this period in the country.

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“Talking about the scarcity of medicines, we are very worried as an association that ailments that ought not to kill people are now killing people, we are also worried that people stay longer in the hospital because medicines are not available, and we are so worried that people stay out of work just because they can’t get the right medication, so it is highly unfortunate and frustrating”, he stressed.

While calling on the Federal Government, especially the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which is an agency of the government to address the two issues as fast as possible, he added that daily, people are dying and it's disturbing the economy.

He continued, “Also, NAFDAC must begin to look at how to address the issue of companies that are folding up in Nigeria, such that a pharmaceutical company that is exiting the country should have a mechanism in place from NAFDAC to monitor what is going on there and to know how to address the scarcity of medicine that may arise after the exit. It is not good that when a company exits the country, then the citizen should start crying over the scarcity of the products”.

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Oladigbolu further appealed to the FG to also help reduce the prices of drugs through the elimination of open drug markets, adding that they are not regulated and fuel the challenge of hikes in the price of drugs.

While inaugurating the new CPC for the forthcoming ACPN conference in Ibadan, Oyo State later in the year, the number one community pharmacist in the country urged the newly inaugurated CPC members to work together with the Local Organising Committee to reverse all the mistakes of the past conferences and ensure they present a befitting conference.

He said, “The global goals for the conference are that we want the delegates to have the experience they have never had before in terms of skills and knowledge acquisition, participation in the policy formulation for the association, policy development for the Federal Government and we want the conference that will project the association to the world”.

In her speech after the inauguration, the Chairman, CPC, Pharm. Grace Ikani, noted that their role is pivotal in shaping the future of ACPN, adding that it is a role that requires collaboration, innovation and a deep sense of responsibility. “So, I firmly believe in teamwork as together we can achieve a greater thing, so I am eager to work with all the concerned stakeholders to bring fresh ideas to the table and make informed decisions for the benefit of our association.

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Speaking in the same vein, the duo of Pharm. Gbadamosi Adebayo, chairman of ACPN, Oyo State, and Pharm. Taofik Odukoya, chairman, LOC, Oluyole 2024 ACPN Conference, noted that the conference presents an opportunity for professionals in the country to come together, share knowledge and engage in meaningful discussion that will shape the future of pharmacy, adding that they are confident that it promises to be memorable and impactful.

Members of the newly inaugurated CPC are Pharm. Grace Ikani, chairman; Pharm. Biodun Adediran, vice-chairman; Pharm. Moji Aladesanmi, secretary; Pharm. Richard Adeboye; Pharm. David Ndagi; Pharm. Patrick Ehitare; Pharm. Chidozie Okoye; Pharm. Nwachukwu Idemili; Pharm. Kingsley Ojukeu; Pharm. Chigozie Agbanusi; Pharm. Jumoke Lawal; Pharm. Stella Emerole.

Others are Pharm. Usman Salihu; Pharm. Ogochukwu Odikpo; Pharm. Chris Iyalla; Pharm. Chris Onoja; Pharm Abiodun Ajibade, adviser; Pharm. Chima Ogbu, adviser; Pharm. Umar Samira, adviser; Pharm. Omokhafe Ashore, national secretary, ACPN, and Pharm. Samuel Babatunde, national treasurer.

L-R, Pharm. Omokhafe Ashore, national secretary; Pharm. Grace Ikani, newly inaugurated chairman, CPC; Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN; Pharm. Taofik Odukoya, chairman, LOC; and Pharm. Adebayo Gbadamosi, chairman, ACPN, Oyo State, at the inauguration of the Conference Planning Committee for the Oluyole 2024 ACPN Conference, held at the ACPN national secretariat, Lagos.

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