Thursday, April 18, 2024

NAFDAC, PCN Gets Commendation For Implementing National Drug Distribution Guidelines

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has commended the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), for implementing the National Drug Distribution Guidelines to sanitise the country’s pharmaceutical space.

The NDDG, which was approved in 2015, is a policy aimed at establishing a well-ordered drug distribution system in Nigeria by reducing the levels of adulterated and fake drugs as well as eliminating the dominance of unregulated drug markets in major cities in Nigeria.

The PSN, which commended the regulatory agencies for their pro-activeness, noted that sealing up the Sabongeri Drug Market in Kano State, to enforce the relocation is a good way to start the implementation of NDDG and called on other states to follow suit.

NAFDAC and PCN had on Saturday, February 17, 2024, raided and sealed over 1,321 patent medicine outlets in the Sabon Gari open market in Kano.

The joint team of regulators enforcement operations came 72 hours after the Federal High Court ordered the drug dealers to vacate their open market premises and relocate to the Coordinated Wholesale Centre, at Dangwauro village on Zaria road in the state.

According to the press statement signed by the President, PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, and made available to Newsmen, the action was taken to be able to move all operators in the location to the CWC, which was opened for operation in Kano since 2023.

The body in the statement also called on states like Lagos, Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Oyo and Borno to give a speedy building plan approval and other logistic support to pave the way for the full construction of CWCs in those states.

The body noted that this would help to facilitate the smooth relocation of those currently operating in “Idumota (Lagos); Bridgehead Onitsha (Anambra); Ariaria (Aba, Abia); Ogbete (Enugu); Agbeni (Oyo) and (Gamboru) in Borno states.”

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The statement reads in part, “The PSN which was at the forefront of agitations for the approved NDDG in 2015 in collaboration with key stakeholders in the pharma industry must declare that the NDDG which incorporates the concept of CWCs for genuine pharma players currently in Open Drug Markets has come to stay going by the Kano experience.

“We at the PSN shall continue to emphasise the benefits inherent in PCN and NAFDAC collaborations which is the only way to redress the monumental problems in the drug distribution channels in our country.

“Once again, the PSN puts it on record that the full implementation of the NDDG will allow full integration of committed players to run their business within the purview of existing statutes that drive the enforcement activities of the PCN and NAFDAC in Nigeria.

“This discourse also makes it mandatory for the PSN to encourage the National Assembly to formally complete the amendment bill of the Fake Drug Act currently before it. For us at PSN, we must formalise the PCN and NAFDAC relationship through more legislative actions beyond the existing windows in the NAFDAC Act and PCN Act 2022 which both provide for representation of key personnel of each of the agencies on the board of the partnering agency.”

The PSN, in the statement, solicited among other reforms, an increase in the penalties provided for first offenders that violate the Fake Drug Act, while subsequent trespasses must attract jail sentences without an option for a fine.

It added, “The National Assembly must also look at the possibilities of factoring in appropriate security squads to aid the responsibilities of the State Taskforces as the recent Kano operation of Saturday, February 17, 2023, confirms the need for maintenance squads of law enforcement agents to sustain and ensure fruitful outcomes when the Taskforce, PCN or NAFDAC embarks on their routine regulatory functions.

“It is also imperative to call on the PCN and NAFDAC as we congratulate them for shifting attention to unregistered pharmaceutical premises to complete the cycle by tackling the plethora of illegal and unlawful drug stores in hospital facilities, especially at the private sector level.

“Stakeholders in pharmacy practice have always lamented that while PCN and NAFDAC maintain frequent surveillance, monitoring and control of registered pharmaceutical premises, it obviously closes its eyes on unregistered pharma premises including those located in the plethora of private hospital facilities. These hospital facilities often carry drug stock far in excess of regular pharmacy facilities irrespective of whether these drugs are registered or not by NAFDAC.”

The body added that the impunity with which these brazen acts of hospital facilities are conducted encourages them to sell drugs at exorbitant prices far in excess of community pharmacies at the private sector level and public pharmacies in government hospitals.

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