The immediate past President of the Pharmaceutical Society (PSN), Olumide Akintayo, has decried a situation where the academic pharmacists are witnessing unending tales of woes, which have manifested in lack of teaching aids and research grants for the academic pharmacist.
Akintayo in a lecture on Leadership and Excellence in Pharmacy Practice delivered at the 2017 Marquis Annual Memorial Lecture at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, said the dearth of chemicals, well equipped laboratories and absence of conducive teaching environment characterize the darkness which has of late enveloped this important sector of the practice.
Akintayo who is also a Fellow of PSN said even when hospital and administrative pharmacists have enjoyed pay increases like other health personnel, all is still not well in relative terms because the era of discriminatory salary wages in the health sector ensures that a young medical graduate earns more money than a senior pharmacist who is at the apogee of service in the public sector makes professional life frustrating.
Akintayo is an alumnus of the University of Ife (now OAU, Ile-Ife) was one of the pioneer students of the West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) and one-time Secretary of the Faculty of Community Pharmacy of the College. He is a full and active member of the Nigeria Institute of Management.
Akintayo said the industrial pharmacy is not to be spared of the rotten basket of fruits because sharp practices in the manufacturing and sales of drugs have destroyed a once upon a time buoyant sector.
He said general or community pharmacy practice appears to be particularly hard hit as this sector, which embraces drug distribution from the manufacturer to the consumer is ravaged to a great extent by the fake drug syndrome.
According to Akintayo, “It is indeed sad and worrisome that a profession which should be a celebration of excellence periodically deteriorates to celebrating only shenanigans, since over time it is clear to those who want to see, that we have deliberately refused to rise from declivity to proclivity. The potentials we maintain are however there despite the above shortcomings.”
Akintayo said investments in research and development are unavailable and the poor financial base of the manufacturing entities makes growth and development of the industry a herculean task.
To trigger an industrial revolution in Nigeria, he said: “We must actualise the existence of petrochemical plants where a plethora of chemical needs can be synthesized. The inherent advantage with this is that we can become an African hub for finished drug product, Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), excipients and chemical needs of other nations.”
Akintayo said the most fundamental of the problems in contemporary pharmacy practice in Nigeria is the insanity that pervades drug distribution in Nigeria. “The Frankenstein Monster called drug markets remains the most challenging yet often ignored by the powers that be out of all the problems that afflict practitioners and by extension the citizenry,” the pharmacist said.
Akintayo further explained: “The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidency set up a Presidential Committee on reforms in the drug distribution sector at the height of its glory. One salient recommendation of the Committee was the decision to prescribe the concept of Mega wholesaling in drug distribution.
“Today further tinkering with the concept after consultations with major stakeholders has given birth to recommendation for Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) in four major cities, Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano. It is noteworthy to indicate that these cities hosted prominent drug markets at Idumota in Lagos, Head Bridge in Onitsha, Ariaria in Aba and Sabongeri in Kano. This chain of events is meant to pave way for the sealing of drug markets in Nigeria. We must follow this to a logical conclusion in the interest of consumers of medicine in Nigeria and of course send the right signal to the global community that we do not endorse a Nigerian style of practicing pharmacy.
“Our other priorities must be to open the space particularly to allow Academic Pharmacists who teach upcoming pharmacists to have an ethical context and dimension in community pharmacy practice.”
He, however, said the proposed satellite Pharmacy concept approved in 2014 by the Annual General Meeting of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria will energise pharmacists in, industrial, hospital and academic to polish their skills in retail of medicines and the requisite counseling component.
Akintayo said a country which reckons with over 30 major drug markets a significant one million illegal premises when there are slightly over 5,000 registered premises is certainly not on the path to attain Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) in a jiffy.