Drug Importation Poses Threat to National Security, Yakasai Warns

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Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), has declared that continued reliance on imported medicines poses a major risk to the nation’s security.

In his welcome address at the just concluded 90th conference of the Society held at International Conference Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, 6-11 November, 2017, Yakasai warned that a nation that does not strive towards self-sufficiency in medicine production risks vulnerability to perishing at the altar of its enemies who just need to lace some of its fast-selling lines with poisons to inflict substantial mortality.

“In economic terms, the need also arises to grow the GDP of a nation through the nourishment of its pharmaceutical sector.

“This is why self-sufficiency in pharmaceutical production remains the watchword for a forward looking nation,” Yakasai stated.

L-R: Pharm. (Alhaji) Yaro Buda, past president of the Society; Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, PSN president; Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor and Pharm. Anthony Akhimien, another past president of the Society.

The PSN helmsman also remarked that the last one year had been quite eventful for the society, which, he said, had gone from strength to strength.

Among other feats, Yakasai enumerated the PSN Foundation launch, inter-professional collaboration among healthcare practitioners, construction and unveiling of PSN Monument at NIPRD headquarters, establishment of PSN Medicine Information Centre, donation of drugs worth over N50 million to Internally Displaced People (IDP)’s camps in Yobe and Sokoto States following meningitis outbreak, and retrieval of PSN property at Victoria Island from Churchgate, as some of the Society’s landmark achievements for the year.

“As we celebrate 90, let us continue with our vision which is to see the Nigerian pharma practice and industry systematically expanding, diversifying, integrating, innovating and collaborating with associated industries, such as science, technology, human resource, regulatory and consumers’ affairs – all contributing to the establishment of a robust Nigerian economy.

“I believe the tasks ahead are surmountable. I am very assured that, together, we can build a formidable Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria that we will continuously be proud of,” he noted.

Earlier in his keynote address, Andrew Nevin, advisory leader and chief economist, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria, emphasised that if Nigerian pharmacists are seriously contemplating putting an end to the growing incidence of drug counterfeiting, they need to embrace Blockchain technology.

While harping on the theme, “Medicine Availability and National Security,” the keynote speaker noted that what he finds most baffling is that those behind drugs counterfeiting are educated brains who, in most cases, attended the best schools in the world.

“Sometimes, I wonder how an educated person would conceive thoughts of creating counterfeit drugs knowing that it will kill a number of people. It is baffling! We need to work hard to eradicate it.

“Unfortunately, it has been established that 25 per cent  of deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa were as a result of counterfeiting. Pharmacists must guard against such development. This is why I proffer Blockchain technology,” he stressed.

In attendance at the event were Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State governor; Pharm. N.A.E. Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, former chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Olumide Akintayo, immediate past president of the PSN; Pharm. Ade Popoola, former chairman, PSN Board of Fellows; Professor (Mrs.) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, MFR, former deputy vice chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University; Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, PSN national secretary; Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm. Arinola Joda, PSN national publicity secretary and Pharm. Ike Onyechi, managing director of Alpha Pharmacy.

Others were HRM Eze Alex Onyido, chairman of Albeh Healthcare Industries; Pharm. Lekan Asuni, managing director, Lefas Pharma;  Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm. Albert Alkali, national chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); Pharm. Folashade Lawal, a renowned community pharmacist and Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, former dean, faculty of pharmacy, University of Lagos (UNILAG); directors of pharmaceutical services and other relevant stakeholders.

 

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