From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN) has warned new entrants into the profession, particularly new university graduands, against engaging in professional misconduct that could attract disciplinary actions from the Council if convicted.
PCN maintained that pharmacy is a noble profession that guarantees opportunities for new graduates to have great prospects of practicing in different fields such as Industries, communities, hospital, hence the need for pharmacists to get acquainted and operate within code of professional ethics.
PCN Registrar, Elijah Mohammed, who gave the warning on the occasion of the oath taking/induction ceremony of fresh graduands of the faculty of pharmacy, Madonna University, Elele, River State, exposed the graduands to severe punishments that await erring pharmacists.
He said: “As Pharmacists, you are expected to get yourselves acquainted with the code of professional ethics which prescribes your professional and moral responsibilities to the patients, pharmacist colleagues, other health professionals, among others. Strict compliance to the code of ethics is indispensable for the practice of pharmacy profession.
“Council frowns at professional misconduct in its entirety. So, any form of misconduct by any Pharmacist is usually investigated by the investigating panel, and Pharmacist with a case to answer is referred to the disciplinary tribunal which has the status of Federal High Court in Nigeria. Sentences such as de-registration could be passed.
“Keep off from the Register-and-Go syndrome which has tarnished the image of Pharmacists and has brought the profession to ridicule. Always bear in mind that things take time, and try to uphold the ethics of the profession at all times.”
The Council, thus, encouraged the new inductees to consistently engage in self capacity development in order to remain relevant in the profession.
He said: “The second phase of your training starts with the one year statutory internship programme which is compulsory for all Pharmacists in Nigeria including those trained abroad without evidence of licensure in their countries of practice.
“The internship training programme must be undertaken in only PCN accredited internship training institutions. Take this one year very seriously as there may not be opportunities to make up for any time wasted.
“PCN is aware of the challenges posed to Pharmacists by the dynamics of practice, technological advancements, increasing disease burdens, adverse drug reactions, interactions, resistance, among others.
“Pursuant to this, PCN has institutionalized the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme to ensure continued relevance of Pharmacists in the scheme of events in the health sector and governance in general.
“Pharmacist’s competency is not only about knowledge and skills, competency should include critical thinking and decision making, innovation, social interaction (negotiation), development leadership skills and inter professional relationships. This is the third and life-long phase of pharmacy training.
“You are expected to pass Pre-registration Examination for Pharmacists (PEP) after your internship to be eligible to practice in Nigeria. Consequently, you are adviced to take your internship training seriously as PEP is based on internship experience and it’s usually held twice yearly (March and October).”