PSN Alerts On Impending Drugs Shortage, Rise In Deaths | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


PSN Alerts On Impending Drugs Shortage, Rise In Deaths

Posted: Aug 28, 2016 at 1:23 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Pharmacists under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has warned of imminent drug scarcity and increase in morbidity and mortality in the country following current shortage of foreign exchange, if something urgent is not done.

Speaking through a communique, signed by the society’s President, Ahmed Yakasai, and its National Secretary, Gbolagade Iyiola, which was issued at its second National Council (NEC) meeting, recently, in Kano State, PSN urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to urgently intervene.

The society says if the Federal Government fails to take measures to tackle the crisis, which is hampering drug import; it could lead to a ‘national health calamity’ among Nigerians.

The society said after a ‘painstaking’ and ‘critical appraisal’ of the various topical issues affecting pharmacy practice, health matters and other sundry issues, the members of the council resolved to appeal to President Buhari to quickly tackle the forex crisis.

The pharmacists also reasoned that empty warehouses of a plethora of the pharmaceutical companies due to inaccessibility to Forex to directly source finished products, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and other excipients will naturally breed out of stock syndrome in the inventory of life saving drugs with obvious consequences in the days and weeks ahead, as most companies will exhaust the leftover stocks from last year.

The Council further posited that it was impossible to transact pharmaceutical inclined business at the rate of $1 to N400 as the drug products from such transactions will be completely unaffordable, thus defeating the goal of the National Drug Policy which advocates the availability of safe, efficacious and affordable drugs in the health system at all times.

The communique read: “Council after a careful evaluation of the impact of the current paucity of Forex in the country which is gradually grinding operations in drug manufacturing and importation outlets to a halt in the days ahead, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to urgently intervene to prevent an impending national calamity which will lead to morbidity and outright mortality of consumers of health in Nigeria.”

The communiqué further explained: “Flowing from the above, council called on the Federal Government to facilitate better access to Forex to pharmaceutical companies as a matter of priority in view of the security dimensions of the out of stock syndrome which has a propensity to boost the fake drug syndrome as charlatans will certainly exploit the vacuum created by a lack of basic drugs.”

The Council called on the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) to continue to work with pharmaceutical stakeholders who resolved jointly in 2015 to actualize State Drug Distribution Centres (SDDCs), Mega Drug Distribution Centres (MDDCs), Registered Wholesalers and newly introduced Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) as the main legs of drug wholesaling in Nigeria.

Council insisted that at the expiration of the deadline for movements out of the open market in August 2017, there must be no going back, as all open markets must be closed in tune with existing laws.

The pharmacists commended the operators in drug markets in Idumota, Lagos, Ariaria in Aba, Abia State, Sabongeri in Kano and recently in Onitsha, Anambra State who are already actualizing and perfecting the CWC structures in those States.

Council insisted that at the expiration of the deadline for movements out of the open market in August 2017, there must be no going back, as all open markets must be closed in tune with existing laws.

To stem the tide of fake drug sales and circulation, the new drug distribution channel approved by pharmaceutical stakeholders, FMoH, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) and National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) must be upheld and made to work maximally in public interest, PSN said.

The society reminded the federal government on the urgent need to reconstitute the PCN by appointing its Chairman and other statutory members albeit lawfully, to enable the PCN carry out its full statutory mandate.

This include, accreditation of training facilities for pharmacists and support personnel in pharmacies, disciplinary procedures which compels the Chairman of PCN to be Chairman of Disciplinary Tribunal as well as regularizing all necessary protocols in the inspectorate activities of the PCN.

Similarly, the society called on the Presidency to appoint registered pharmacists as Heads/Chief Executives Officers (CEOs) of requisite regulatory agencies involved in drug distribution for its change mantra to add benefit packages to the citizenry in Nigeria.

PSN also invited healthcare providers and workers, consumers of health and other stakeholders to its 89th annual national conference, which will hold from Monday November 7 to Friday November 11, 2016 in Minna, Niger State.

The society further said that the opening ceremony of the annual national conference would feature Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as special guest of honour, while the various plenary sessions, which follow the opening ceremony, will revolve around the theme of the conference: “Pharmaceutical Industry Contributions to National Development.”