By Doris Obinna and Henry Uche
Lagos State chapter of Pharmacautical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has condemn the move to amend some sections of Medical and Dental Council Of Nigeria (MDCN) Repeal Amendment Bill under the Chairmanhship of the Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, saying that such move will not stand.
In a statement signed by the chairman, Gbolagade Iyiola, said they observed with dismay, the undisguised attempts by the chairman of the Senate Committee on health, to force through the unimaginable sacrileges he and his medical collaborators had smuggled into the MDCN Bill 2020.
According to Iyiola, some of the specific areas of contention include: Section 42(1) Subject to subsection (4) of this Section, no person, other than a registered Medical Practitioner shall: (b) Take or use the title of Physician, Doctor or licentiate of medicine, medical practitioner or apothecary.
42 (2) subject to section (4) of this section, no person other than a registered Dental Surgeon shall (b) take or use the title of dental surgeon, doctor, dentist, dental officer or dental practitioner.
He said, “We propose that Section Section 42 (1) b should read: (A) Take or use the title of Physician, Surgeon or licentiate of medicine or Medical Practitioner. Section 42(2) b should read: (B) Take or use the title of Dental Surgeon, Dentist, Dental Officer or Dental Practitioner.
“These propositions can be justified to align with the PSN (Lagos State) amendment because in tandem with due process, it is the NUC by virtue of its enabling Act that has powers to draw and approve the curriculum of all academic programmes in Nigeria. If the NUC has graciously approved Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Physiotherapy and related programmes in the Health Sector, the MDCN has no statutory powers to decree that holders of these degrees and titles cannot bear the title of Doctors neither can such constitute an offence within the purview of law.
“There is a legion of undergraduate programmes globally today where appropriate authorities have approved titles including Doctor of Law, Doctor of Theology, and Doctor of Arts etc,”
He maintained that PSN (Lagos State) strongly recommends that Section 45(3)(e) be completely expunged, noting that this can be rationalized for obvious reasons. He added, “It is interesting that in the MDCN draft bill, no consideration or thought was put in print for a next line of action in the absence of the Medical Doctor or Dentist.
“Specifically, there was no clause to allow Nurses or any other practitioner to step in the shoes of the Doctor/Dentist which would have been within the jurisdiction of the MDCN. Rather strangely, the MDCN bill seeks to give Doctors/Dentists a loophole in the private sector especially to continue the many years of reckless use of drugs through untrained hands.
“This draft cannot legitimize the unlawful act of sales and dispensing of drugs by Doctors under whatever guise.
A. The scenario in (2) above is what has entrenched and formalized quackery in the Health system in Nigeria because private hospitals promote quackery through a periodic discharge of untrained elements. Such undesirable characters evolve as Auxiliary Nurses, Dispensing Assistants/Clerk etc.
B. Section 45(3)(e) in its totality will encourage the continued exploitation of the Nigerian people because WHO studies confirm pecuniary indulgences of private hospital facilities in the sales and dispensing of drugs. The study declares that prices of drugs in private hospitals is 184 per cent above baseline prices in public hospital pharmacy and 192 per cent above what is obtainable in private pharmacies. It is this huge profit that has always incentivized private hospital facilities to unlawfully stock drugs when they also fail to engage Pharmacists, he stressed.
He affirmed that, moving forward, the way out remains that Doctors and private hospitals that cannot afford to engage Pharmacists should send their prescriptions to Community Pharmacies that are registered by PCN.
“We recommend that the definition of “Medically Qualified” in the Bill should be deleted because there is a pending court case on who is a “Medically Qualified” personnel in Nigeria. A notable case is at the Court of Appeal Ibadan in Appeal No. CA/IB/M.92/18 flowing from Suit No. NICN/05/03/2014.
“We strongly call on the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan to call Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe to order because public trust places a sacred mandate on him to defend and protect the public interest at all times.