A medical expert, Dr Biodun Ogungbo, has warned Nigerians to avoid patronising chemists and patent medicine when they are sick.
Ogungbo who is a neurological Surgeon with a private hospital in Abuja disclosed this in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday.
He decried that drugs with similar names are traded off for one another, adding that the drugs sold by chemist attendants in most cases have different chemical compositions and are used for different diseases.
Ogungbo also said fake manufacturers do conspire with owners of patent medicine stores to sell fake drugs.
”More so, these people cannot distinguish between original and fake drugs. It is cheaper and more rewarding for them to buy fake drugs.
“It must be mentioned that chemist boys also double as ‘injectionists’ and quack doctors. There have been situations where they have prescribed and administered injectable drugs,” he said.
Invariably, the medical expert said the majority of those who patronise chemists end up in hospital with serious complications.
In addition, he said at times, they are introduced to new diseases acquired from improper technique and unhygienic conditions.
According to him, “Injection abscesses are so common from chemists and patent medicine stores.
“What is needed is proper re-orientation and health education of the general public to the danger in the patronage of such places. Health is wealth.
“The eventual cost of managing the complications of diseases from these chemists outweigh the cost of proper treatment in recognised hospitals and accredited health care facilities.
“The pharmacy board and local government officials have an important role to play in ensuring that only registered pharmacists own and manage chemists, dispensaries, and pharmaceutical stores.
“Hospital staff must also ensure that all cases resulting from quackery that come to them should be reported to police for immediate investigation and action.
The time is now.”
He said this is not the first time they would call the attention of government and all Nigerians to the terrible dangers posed to the health of the nation by patent medicine stores and local chemists.
“Sounding this note of warning, again and again, can never be too much, as the havoc wrecked by them, on unsuspecting customers cannot be overemphasised. Chemist shops and patent medicine stores abound in all parts of the country.”
Speaking further, he said these shops stock almost any drug and none is sacred to them.
He said even though unqualified, the chemist (boys and girls) diagnose and treat customers.
“They proclaim to know everything, every drug and are ever ready to “help”. This help offered at a price can, however, be suicidal, yet their customers range through the social, educational levels of the public. Many people have stepped inside a local chemist, at least once,” he added.