By Henry Uche
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has accused the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) of not being dream killers and suppressors of growth and development of all other stakeholders in healthcare sector.
In a statement by the chairman and national secretary of ACPN, Adewale Oladigbolu and Ambrose Ezeh, respectively, the pharmacists condemned the interview granted to a national newspaper by the president of NMA, Mr. Uche Ojinmah.
According to them, Ojinmah, in the interview, maligned ACPN, which is a proof of unending political tirades directed at the profession of pharmacy and community pharmacists.
“The attempt to disparage community pharmacists by Ojinmah confirms our age-long predilection to brand a preponderance of Nigerian physicians as perpetually celebrating their arrogance of ignorance.
“It is most unfortunate that the supposed leader of the medical profession in Nigeria is not familiar with the nomenclature and concept of community pharmacy practice, which is a globally recognised reality.”
ACPN affirmed that the community pharmacist is the unsung hero in the Nigerian health space who apparently saves Nigeria from more significant morbidity and mortality rates through their services and interventions.
“Over 65 per cent of clinical visitations traceable to malaria in Nigeria are effectively treated to the extent of almost 90 per cent in community pharmacies in Nigeria.
“During the peak levels of COVID-19 pandemic, it was community pharmacies that provided affordable management costs through wellness protocols of dispensing routine vitamins and other remedies, including appropriate diet, at costs well below N2,000 to Nigerians when private hospitals charged between N5m and N50m to manage patients in their hospitals.”
They stressed that no government official in Nigeria at state or federal levels has found it worthwhile to convey appreciation of the patriotic gestures of these community pharmacists till now.
“The current hogwash leaders in medicine know next to nothing about nobility of devotion in professional dispensations. Little wonder our healthcare sector continues to suffer in the hands of the disjointed consortium of entrepreneurs who perfectly epitomise the physician tribe foisted on us by government at all levels in Nigeria.
“Drugs are universally classified into over-the-counters (OTCs), pharmacist initiated medicines (PIM) and prescription only medicines (POMs). Pharmacists have a legal right to dispense OTCs and PMIs without prescriptions and a segment of the misguided constituency of Physicians still raises hell in such circumstances.
“The biggest beneficiaries of the unlawful phenomenon of prescribing pharmacists and dispensing Physicians are the private sector physicians as World Health Organisation (WHO) studies confirm that the drugs cost more in private hospital pharmacies and public hospital pharma.
“The average Nigerian physician in private practice rips off the patient in his treatment plan through exploitative billings with drugs,” ACPN asserted.
They condemn Nigeria Physicians who boasts of knowing everything other health professionals were trained to perfect, saying that, “Ojinmah declared in his interview that physicians “study pharmacology an aspect of pharmacy,” and so came up with the inference that physicians know everything about pharmacy.
“Pharmacology is only one of eight core areas in pharmacy training which includes; pharmacognosy, pharmacology, pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry, pharmaceutical microbiology, pharmaceuticals and pharm tech, forensic pharmacy, clinical pharmacy and bio pharmacy.
“Even if we assume that physicians cover the entire blade in terms of scope and depth of pharmacology, pharmacists are exposed to in-training, what-ever happened to knowledge in the other seven areas? As pharmacists, we were taught anatomy and physiology but maturity and intellectual contentment compels us to acknowledge we remain proud and fulfilled pharmacists,” they averred.