The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria has called on government to subsidise drug prices, saying the unstable exchange rate had made medicines unaffordable for Nigerians.
The pharmacists made this call during a medical outreach organised by the Iyana-Ipaja, Dopemu, Egbeda and Akowonjo branch of the association in the Mosan Okunola, Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
The former Chairman of the association and the LCDA boss, Mr. Oduwole Fredrick, said that the screening exercise was to alleviate the suffering of residents who were finding it difficult to pay hospital bills and buy their medications.
Fredrick said, “We know it is a hard time for Nigerians because recession and exchange rate have made drugs expensive as most of the drugs sold in the country are imported, and this has affected the prices of medicines.
“Patients come to the pharmacy and they cannot afford the drugs they need. We have people on the street that have no knowledge of their health status and anything can happen to them anytime.
“It is only necessary that government should make drugs available and subsidise the costs for people during this period, to increase their access to quality health care,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the ACPN Chairman, IDEA Zone, Ms. Nsese Mfon, said if the present financial hardship persisted, many Nigerians living in the grass roots would turn to quacks.
Mfon called on her colleagues to work with other health care providers in their localities to protect residents from being exploited by quacks.
She said, “The major challenge in the health sector especially in rural communities is quackery. Quacks are in all medical disciplines, there are many cases where nurses decide to perform the duties of a doctor.
“Though community pharmacists have the first contact with sick persons, if anyone needs the services of a doctor, we refer them immediately to a health facility where such services are available.”
She commended the Lagos State Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Team for shutting down illegal drug stores and pharmacies in the state.
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