Pharm. Samuel Oluwaoromipin Adekola, national vice-chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), and managing director, His Grace Pharma Group, Akure, Ondo State, speaks with Adebayo Oladejo on the efforts of the current national leadership of ACPN at strengthening collaboration among members which he says will fortify community pharmacy business and practice against external and internal aggressions. Adekola, who was Ondo State PSN chairman for six years, also reveals the challenges facing community pharmacy practice in the state, as well as the achievements of Sunshine CooPharm, a company owned by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Ondo State Branch. Excerpts:
You could have chosen any other area of pharmacy but opted for community pharmacy practice, what prompted this?
To God be the glory, who ordered my steps in the choice of my current practice area – community pharmacy. I really wished to be in academia but Providence led me into the industrial section of pharmacy practice, where I worked for over five years before I eventually saw the need to settle down as a community pharmacy practitioner, where God has continued to be with me to make significant impacts.
Tell us about Sunshine CooPharm Limited, and its short, medium and long term plans?
This is a good opportunity to promote the dream we had when perhaps I was nobody in the realm of leadership of both the ACPN and the PSN, which has now become a thriving and laudable company – the Sunshine Coopharm Limited.
When the vision of the company, which is actually an initiative to benefit community pharmacists in Ondo State, came up, I piloted the initiative, as well as the incorporation and the setting up of the company, with the support of one other senior colleague, Pharm. Osabia Taiwo, the managing director of BOT Pharmacy, Akure – but I don’t want to go into the details for now.
Our short-term plan was to be a player in the Pharmaceutical Management Programme (PMP) of the Ondo State government that started in 2006; and, by December 2007, we already achieved that. Our medium-term plan was to become importers of pharmaceutical finished products and this was also achieved by December 2016 when three out of five of our registered products – antimalarial, antihypertensive and anti-diabetic – came into the country.
Our long-term plan that is yet to come true is to become local manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and possibly to own chain retail harmacies across Ondo State.
What is Sunshine CooPharm doing differently as far as the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector is concerned?
Frankly speaking I don’t think there is anything Sunshine Coopharm Limited is doing differently currently, as far as the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector is concerned, except that we have decided to run the company from inception purely as a business limited by shares, with no interference or control by the PSN or any other group, apart from the board of directors and the shareholders.
What is your assessment of community pharmacy practice in Ondo State?
Well, as it is in virtually all the states in Nigeria, community pharmacy practice in Ondo State is yet to get to the expected rewarding state. However our case is not a worse-case scenario, as we have a fair number of practitioners doing averagely well which, I believe, has recently been encouraging the springing up of premises by younger colleagues in the last two years in the state.
Meanwhile, our challenges are similar to what we have nationwide, the most prominent of which is lack of effective regulations and enforcement, as the retail pharmacy practice arena is still very much in the hands of charlatans who have no pharmacy education and continue to see the practice as a common trade. Sadly, the PCN has not been completely able to curb their excesses and bring their various nefarious activities under adequate control.
To support the PCN in this struggle, ACPN NEC, at our last meeting, decided to set up a high-powered committee, with highly respected colleagues drawn from across the geopolitical zones of the Nigeria as members, to broker possible partnership areas in support of the council.
Another very important challenge is lack of economic support for our business, such as access to profitable finance for sustainable business and access to latest technology. Also, improved skills and training to ensure adequate knowledge base requirements for sustainable and standard best practices form part of our major challenges in retail community pharmacy practice.
However, I am glad to reveal that the great vision and effort of the current national leadership of ACPN at building a network of collaboration for members in partnership with Advantage Health Africa and the Ultra Logistics company Limited is targeted at resolving most of the above challenges. So every community pharmacy practitioner is enjoined and highly encouraged to register for the collaboration via this link: www.cpnnexus.com
You are one of the active pharmacists pushing the idea of ACPN membership collaboration. Tell us about this concept and how it can help community pharmacists?
I am the chairman of the ACPN Practice and Business Improvement Development Committee that is directly pushing for the current collaboration effort. The concept is simple. It is an economic theory of scale that is leveraging on the number of community pharmacists in Nigeria, through a platform of collaboration, in order to resolve various issues limiting our practice and businesses, which ordinarily could be difficult for individuals to resolve effectively and efficiently. It has the ultimate aims of leapfrogging our businesses and improving our practice.
The visions include creating a structure that will necessarily avail every collaborating pharmacy business to outlive its founder or owner, as the case may be. So, evidently it will go a long way in supporting the implementation of organised drugs distribution system.
Tell us about your outfit, His Grace Pharmacy. What is the philosophy behind this enterprise?
His Grace KSP Pharma Group, also known as His Grace Pharmacy, came into full retail practice about 11 years ago, with one small premises in Akure. But by the special grace of God, as our name connotes, we have added two branches, with our corporate headquarters housed in a three-storey property of our own along the major commercial road in Akure, Ondo state.
Our practices cover primary healthcare delivery services, minor emergency cares, home cares for ambulatory patients, with particular reference to pharmaceutical care. We specialise in provision of child and adults immunisation services, with trained and certified pharmacists and supporting staff. Our business philosophy is captured in our slogan: “Medicine that works”.