Pharmacists under the auspices of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria have called on regulatory bodies such as the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control to increase their monitoring activities as illegal pharmaceutical outlets are on the increase across the country.
The former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Akhimien, who spoke at the 2012 ACPN Continuing Education Conference tagged, â€œSafe Medicines for Nigerians By Community Pharmacists: Ethics and Business Consideration,â€ said this menace could increase drug failure in the country.
Akhimien said these outlets serve as channels where fake and substandard drugs are sold to innocent consumers by unauthorised persons and quacks.
He said, â€œThe problem of illegal chemists and pharmacies is getting out of hand in the country. They spring forth in every corner of our society and I think we need NAFDAC to do more in eradicating them. There are too many quacks pretending to be pharmacists in many chemists, this is extremely dangerous.â€™â€™
Akhimen blamed the increase in illegal pharmaceutical outlets on lack of policies and laws which could state the duties of the various professional groups in the health sector.
Also, the chairman of the Lagos branch of the association, Mr. Aminu Abdulsalam, called on government to speedily pass the national drug distribution bill into law to curb circulation of fake drugs in the country.
Abdulsalam, who described drug distribution in Nigeria as irrational, urged government to engage professionals and necessary agencies that could come up with a bill that would eradicate the trend in the country.
â€œToday, medicines are displayed in funny places and hawked along with cigarettes and biscuits; there is no way these things will persist and we will have good control of medicines in Nigeria. It goes without saying that if we continue this way, there is no way we can guarantee that Nigerians wonâ€™t be exposed to unsafe medicines,â€ he stated.
Stressing the need for a structured drug distribution, he also challenged regulatory bodies to ensure that drug policies are enforced.
He added, â€œWe have good regulatory laws in place but the clear problem is implementation. If the Federal Government supports the regulatory bodies to enforce these policies, then patients wonâ€™t even buy unsafe drugs in the first place.â€
Also, in a lecture titled, â€œManaging common infections in children,â€ Dr. Edem Duke said irrational sale of drugs had increased self medication among Nigerians.
Duke noted that this habit had killed many children and adults in the country and called on government to speedily regulate access to medicines through its laws.
She said, â€œParents must stop giving their babies drugs that they do not know what they are used for. They continue to manage their babiesâ€™ health till the problem is at a deadly stage. Self medication by parents is another reason for infant mortality. Please do not put the lives of these children at risk.â€