The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) praised the professionalism of the BBC Africa Eye documentary investigators on Codeine Abuse and their bravery in unraveling the decadence the PSN has been raising alarm about in the last one year.
The general public will remember that the PSN President was first to draw the attention of the general public to the enormous amount of cough syrup being abused in the North, taking advocacy visits to Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Traditional Rulers, Governors of affected states and Director General (DG) of the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). In furtherance to this stand, the PSN represents more than thirty thousand pharmacists and its members hold integrity and honour as a virtue. We strongly condemn unethical practices and consistently educate, retrain, certify and advocate for ethical practice by members. We also have in place a system for reporting unethical practices discretely (whistle blowing), disciplinary procedures and legal channels for assuring the quality of service provided to the public.
We currently work with regulatory agencies like Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), NAFDAC and our technical arms to improve regulation by ensuring laws are updated to reflect current realities, motivate easy compliance, promote integrity of the medicines supply chain and provide sufficient deterring penalties to wrong doers. In this light, our advocacy to the Senate has yielded two bills under consideration and several partnerships targeting supply and demand of codeine containing cough syrups.
We are also in this vein calling on the Federal Government not to renege on its commitment to implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines slated for January 2019. The implementation of this guideline will result into better regulation of medicines distribution and improve the ability of regulators to audit the trail of drugs. We call on all members of the public to speak up and ask their representatives to mandate the Federal Government to implement the NDDG as agreed with stakeholders. Again, we have tried very hard to sustain the ideals of pharmacy practice in Nigeria. Fundamentally, disciplinary matters and accreditation of pharmacy facilities for training suffers in the absence of Council. We once again appeal to Federal Government to approve the immediate reconstitution of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria. With this in place we can assure you of serious consequences and appropriate sanction to any member of our society found wanting.
Similarly, the PSN’s Young Pharmacist Group are currently partnering with NAFDAC to educate young people in all 774 local governments of the country, beginning with a test run in six states. This project will take advantage of the great communication and counselling skills unique to pharmacists and the social skills of our enterprising youth.
Again we wish to reiterate that PSN members are ethical in conduct, professional in outlook and honourable. Our pharmaceutical manufacturers are encouraged to have standard operating procedures that assure their distribution channels and when those channels are shown to be compromised, to investigate, re-evaluate, update and retrain.
The PSN assures the general public that it will work to restore the confidence of all in the integrity of the drug distribution system in Nigeria.
Meanwhile PSN was in attendance of the stakeholders meeting at Sheraton on Monday, 30th April 2018 at the BBC Screening of the documentary ‘Sweet Sweet Codeine’ organised by BBC.
*Ahmed I. Yakasai is the President of PSN
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