As the nation continues in its quest to get rid of counterfeit medicines in the healthcare system particularly to eliminate its negative impact on consumers, exposing them to dangerous and ineffective medical products, community pharmacists in the country have tasked the Federal Government to speedily implement the drug distribution guidelines aimed at repositioning the confidence of the pharmaceutical sector.
The current drug distribution system, experts believe, is such that over the counter (OTC) drugs like pain-relief medicines, multivitamin drugs as well as drugs for combating communicable and non communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension are sold indiscriminately in the open market, in shops, roadside, buses, etc giving a room for counterfeit medicines to thrive.
Speaking to newsmen ahead of its forth coming conference in Port Harcourt tagged “Health Sector Goals in Nigeria: The Role of the Community Pharmacist”, Pharm ( Mrs ) Ejiro Oyovwin-Foyibo, National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) lamented that the nation’s drug distribution system is chaotic as medicines have become an article of trade; a situation whereby it is sold in buses, shops, malls, road side, open market, etc without unguarded control by health authorities.
While this trend not only expose Nigerians to counterfeit medicines, Foyibo who tasked Nigerians to purchase drugs from registered pharmacy emblem with the “RX” sign as is the case in most developed nations like United States of America, Britain, Germany etc., noted that buying drugs on the road side and in open markets leads to drug failures as most of such medicines are sub-standard and fake.
According to Foyibo, “The country’s pharmaceutical industry is today battling with the ills of counterfeit medicines which has done incalculable damage to the health of Nigerians and the nation’s economy.
“The Drug Distribution guidelines stipulate that drugs in the country are sold at mega drug distribution companies and State drug distribution companies for easy tracking and to get rid of fake drugs in the system.
This is why the National Drug Distribution Guidelines by the Federal Government if implemented will augur well for the practice of pharmacy profession and ensure safety to the general public who consume such drugs.