By Asma’u Ahmad
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has shut down services for about two hours in Abuja to press for presidential assent to the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) Bill 2017.
Newsmen report that the peaceful protest lasted from 12noon to 2 PM. The National Chairman of ACPN, Mr Samuel Adekola, told newsmen in Abuja that the action became necessary to appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill before May 29.
He added that there would be a peaceful protest across the country if nothing was done soon. “Many less endowed African nations have today polished their pharmacy laws to meet global best practices.
“The terminal consequences of poor statutes, weak enforcement and so on, which engender easy access to drugs to promote the vicious cycle of drug abuse and misuse, and falsified drug syndrome are gradually being eliminated in these climes. “This is the same purpose the new Pharmacy Council Bill is intended to achieve,” he said.
Adekola said one of benefits package of PCN Bill was that it opens a unique window of competence driven service rendition at all levels.
He said the Bill provides that any pharmacist who has over 10 years post-qualification experience can own a satellite pharmacy not withstanding his primary practice option.
Adekola said it would increase the professional service points in pharmacy from about 5, 000 currently to over 100,000 in Nigeria.
“These satellite Pharmacies in turn have mandate to provide oversight in a manner of hub and spoke model over the Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors, thereby improving their regulation.
“The enforcement of sales of medicines in only registered pharmacies and patent medicines stores by the PCN is the only way to permanently redress the menace of drug abuse and falsified drug syndrome in Nigeria. “This has been prescribed by the Poison and Pharmacy Act,” he said.
He said the PCN Bill 2017 clearly prohibits sale of drugs in unauthorised places such as open drug markets, this in essence is in tandem with the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).
Adekola said Pharmacy Laws are laced with very substantial antiquity because the first Pharmacy Ordinance was enacted in 1887.
“The consequences of these acts of negligence remains the vulnerability of the PCN and Federal Government and the Honorable Minister of Health to unending litigations which reduces the efficiency of the PCN in carrying out its statutory mandate.
“The PCN bill in question has also removed all ambiguities with regards to offences and relevant commensurate sanctions applicable to all players.
“This is particularly significant because owners of unregistered premises, those who sell products they are not legally licensed to sell and those who violate the condition precedence attached to their licensure will better appreciate the consequences of their unlawful endeavors and acts,” he said.
Adekola, however, appealed to the Federal Government to heed to the clarion call to engender a new agenda of productivity, professionalism, self-sufficiency in local production and regulatory excellence in the pharma-sector.
He said the achievements would change the narratives and place the pharma-sector in good stead to contribute to the national Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
One of the Pharmacists in Jabi, who complied with the directives of the association, Mr Eddins Aliyu, said the Bill was essential to the healthcare, adding every individual get well through their medications.
He said the essence of the law was to regulate the pharmaceutical practice, pleading with President Buhari to accent to the Bill, in order to conform to global practices.