Until the issue of inadequate access to essential medicines in Africa is tackled earnestly, there may be no end in sight to the perennial high mortality rate, as records have shown that the exorbitant prices of medicines have taken them out of the reach of the masses, especially the rural dwellers, the Director of Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP), Professor Chinedum Peace Babalola, has said.
Prof. Babalola, who made the submission at the International conference, organised by the Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP), Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, recently, noted that it is high time stakeholders embarked on critical appraisal of the access to quality medicines in order to ensure better healthcare in Africa.
Explaining the motives for the conference, she said issues of medicines inaccessibility, review of policies guiding access to medicine in Nigeria; challenges affecting access to essential medicines in Nigeria as well as promotion of easy access to quality medicines in Africa, will be thoroughly examined.
Presenting a paper titled: “A Critique of Relevant Laws Governing Medicine Regulatory in Nigeria”, the Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Board of Fellows, Barrister Chiedu Mordi, called for a review of obsolete regulations in pharmacy and medicine in the country.
While noting that medicines and pharmaceutical chemicals are prone to adulteration and misuse, Mordi, who is also a pharmacist, explained that it is imperative that laws and regulations be implemented to prevent medicine misuse and abuse, as well as to keep dispensation of drugs in order.
He highlighted various laws and acts that were promulgated over the years to regulate access to medicine in Nigeria to include: Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Act of 1982; Poisons and Pharmacy Laws; National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Act; as well as Counterfeit and Adulterated Drug Act.
To bridge the gap in availability and affordability of essential drugs,the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole mentioned the need to mobilise local manufacturers of medicines for more production, as this as has been one of his major focus since his assumption in office.
The Health Minister who spoke through his representative, the Director of Food and Drugs, Ministry of Health, Mrs Gloria Modupe, commended CDDDP, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan for organising the conference which he described as timely and important.
The conference, which witnessed a massive turnout of participants, was graced by notable personalities, among whom are: The Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, ably represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Prof Olanike Adeyemo; the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, represented by the Director of Food and Drugs in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Modupe Gloria Chukuma; the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku; the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, a professor of Pharmacy; Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Professor Temitope Alonge, and others.