Legal expert urges amendment of PCN Act
Foremost lawyer, Barrister Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has called on the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to initiate an amendment process of Act 91 of 1992, which established it as a regulatory body for all pharmaceutical activities in the country.
Adegboruwa said this was necessary to accommodate pharmacists’ rights as well as other employment terms.
The legal icon, who made the submission while addressing members of the Nigerian Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists (NAHAP) Lagos State Chapter, during the NAHAP Day held recently, stressed the need for the council to collate and establish a set of rights for practitioners in the industry.
He maintained that it was the responsibility of the PCN to state the conditions of employment of pharmacists beyond what is stated in sections 11 and 12 of the Act.
“It is not enough to practise and make money, but the environment of the practice must guarantee the safety and retirement benefits of practitioners”, Adegboruwa said.
He also suggested that a more meaningful and precise definition of a pharmacist should be included in the amendment as this would further help to rid the profession of quacks.
Speaking on the topic, “Emerging Global Trends in Patients Care: The Rights of Stakeholders”, the barrister highlighted the rights of pharmacists to include right to protection, insurance, confidentiality, association, job security, refusal, among others.
Citing the example of First Foundation Hospital, where some Ebola caregivers lost their lives in the course of duty, Adegboruwa explained that recent trends in the health care system have made it crucial for practitioners to have these rights established, adding that the level of protection must be commensurate with the risk of the environment.
The legal practitioner also spoke on patients’ rights, including the right to be treated in a dignified and friendly manner; right to effective communication in preferred language; right to cultural value; right to privacy; right to system of information of data; right to accommodation of religion; right to participate in decision about care; right to refuse care and leave the facility contrary to management decision; right to know names of practitioners in the health facility; and right to explanation for bill to services rendered.
He however decried the Nigerian situation where there is no legislation guaranteeing the enforcement of the rights of patients, thereby leaving patients at the mercy of doctors and health care givers.
“Of what essence are patients’ rights without the laws to enforce them?” he queried, while calling on the legislative arms of the government to consider working towards the establishment of patients’ rights in Nigeria.
He also called on pharmacists to always educate their patients properly on every issue, in order for them to be exempted from any eventuality that may arise from the treatment given.
Chairman of NAHAP (Lagos), Pharm. Kayode Aiyegbajeje, earlier noted that the association was doing its best to keep its members abreast fn trends in pharmaceutical care. He said the association also played a major role in sensitising the public on the prevention of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) through health campaigns and distributed large quantities of hand sanitisers to the people at Yaba bus-stop.