– Awaits NUC verification team’s result
Barring any last minute exigency, the Faculty of Pharmacy, Federal University of Uyo will commence the PharmD curriculum, starting from the institution’s 2020/2021 academic session.
The acting Dean of the faculty, Dr Emmanuel Etim, made this disclosure during an interview with Pharmanews recently, adding that the faculty is poised for more achievements that will expedite the advancement of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.
Etim further revealed that the resource verification team of the National Universities Commission (NUC) visited the institution’s Faculty of Pharmacy on 7 December, 2020, for the PharmD resource verification, adding that the institution is currently awaiting the verification team’s result, which he said will hopefully be a favourable one.
The dean also pointed out that while the faculty is looking forward to start the PharmD programme, the departments of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology have been created in the faculty, stressing that this will pave way for training of experts in Quality Assurance and Quality control, as well as research into biotechnology.
He said: “There has been some innovative research in the faculty. Recently, two pharmacists from the faculty came out overall first and third place in the entire country, in a competition to harness finished product from raw materials. Given enough motivation, the faculty will achieve more.
Giving further updates on the faculty, the Etim, an associate professor of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, said: “Let me start with the latest development in the University of Uyo. We have a new vice-chancellor in the person of Prof. Nya Udo Ndaeyo from the Faculty of Agriculture, who was a part-time lecturer in the department of Pharmacognosy and Natural Medicine of our faculty. Before our last accreditation in 2015, the faculty had five departments but the department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology has now been created.
“Recently, precisely Monday, 7, December 2020, the resource verification team from the National Universities Commission (NUC) visited our faculty for PharmD resource verification. The results of the team is awaited and hopefully our 2020/2021 admission will be for Pharm.D since I expect a positive outcome.
“The creation of the departments of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology is one of such efforts the Faculty of Pharmacy in the University of Uyo has put in place to advance the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Sector.
The departments will pave way for training of experts in Quality Assurance and Quality control, as well as research into biotechnology. Also the migration to Pharm. D will train pharmacists and position them well to tackle the issue of drug monitoring, and improve patient to pharmacists relationship”, the associate professor enthused.
The dean however lamented Nigeria’s dependence on importation of drugs, stating that the problem of drug importation in Nigeria will linger unless the government stops paying lip service to industrialisation.
He said: “In attempting drug manufacturing in Nigeria, you realise that everything but water is imported. However, what I am proposing is a situation where other units are up and doing. For example, the Faculty of Agriculture should cultivate and process medicinal plants for use; the Faculty of Engineering should fabricate and produce simple equipment for manufacturing; the chemical industry should produce fine chemicals which could be used for drug compounding. With these types of collaboration, we will bridge the gap in drug importation and manufacturing.”
Etim enjoined the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to encourage the manufacturers of drugs being imported into the country to establish their factories in Nigeria, adding that the two bodies should prevail on the Nigerian government to reduce import duty for local pharmaceutical companies.
He said: “There is harmony between PCN and PSN, so they should try to convince most companies who export drugs to Nigeria to locate their factories in the country by reducing license processing fee and other incentives. PCN and PSN should try and cause government to reduce importation fee for pharmaceutical companies operating in the country and also ensure that the local drug manufacturers have access to low interest loans.
“The departments of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology in faculties of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences should be well equipped to carry out some drug production. Learning drug production in schools will cause the students to develop a passion for industrial pharmacy.
“Just as there is waiver for the importation of some commodities, the government should give special waiver for importation of pharmaceutical raw materials and drugs. This will encourage investors in the drug industry and reduce the cost of medications. There should be serious checks at the country’s borders to reduce the influx of fake drugs.”
The dean also called on pharmacists in the country to stand by the ethics of their profession and avoid cutting corners. He also enjoined pharmacists to participate in the nation’s politics so as to get involved in the act of governance.
His words: “Nigerian pharmacists should adhere strictly to the oath of their profession. That oath which we administer during induction should be visited regularly. Pharmacists in community practice are those who fly the flag of this profession. They should be professional in practice, and avoid cutting corners.
“Our young pharmacists should know that money will come but not by registering two or more persons or selling the dignity of our profession. Most importantly, pharmacist should venture into politics so as to be involved in the general act of governance.”