Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Edo State chapter of the Association of Community Pharmacist of Nigeria has decried the drug distribution system in Nigeria, saying it has been hijacked by ‘moneybags’ the instead of allowing it to be run by professionals.
The state chairman of the association, Duke Otite, expressed his outrage in Benin while outlining its association preparedness to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
“The drug distribution system in Nigeria which should be controlled by the drug professional has been hijacked by moneybags, the result is what we are seeing now,” he complained.
“Let me inform you that unless this pandemic is defeated in time, the situation is likely to get worse even as scarcity of essential medicines loom for obvious reasons.
“Nigeria depends largely on the importation of essential medicines as local production capacity is in an all-time low”, he said.
“We are, however, challenged and seriously shortchanged by the chaotic drug distribution system in Nigeria which gave rise to the birth of the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG) which was set to be implemented on the 31st December 2018 but was thereafter shifted to 2019.
“Unfortunately, the guidelines remain only in ink as it remains to be implemented, leaving the importation and distribution of drugs to be largely controlled by merchants and shrewd businessmen whose primary interest is profit and from whom pharmacist majorly source essential medicines from.”
Otite, while thanking the Central Bank of Nigeria for its giant stride in the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scourge, called on the state and federal governments to declare a state of emergency on the local production of essential commodities, particularly medicines.
He said government at all levels must walk the talk and ensure that the resources allocated to revamp the local manufacturing of medicine in Nigeria gets to the real stakeholders, Nigerian Pharmacists Manufacturers.
He also urged philanthropic Nigerians who are donating towards the fight against the pandemic to also consider strategic partnership with pharmacists in order to provide essential materials needed to combat the spread of the further virus to the Nigerian public.