Pharmanews Online Store/Payment Portal

Posted By admin On Friday, April 25th, 2014 With 2 Comments

In line with our corporate mission of making our products and services available and affordable to you, Pharmanews Limited is introducing its online store/payment portal powered by Guarantee Trust Bank SME Market Hub. With this facility you can make online payments with your ATM card for our products and services, including:

  • Pharmanews books and directories
  • Yearly  subscription for Pharmanews journal
  • Advert placements on Pharmanews Journal
  • Registration fees for Pharmanews trainings and workshops.

Take advantage of this payment system today within the comfort of your home or office. It is fast, secure and reliable.


To visit our online store/payment portal click-here-5


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  3. 1. My name is Gilbert Umeadi Echezona. I was born in Enugwu-Ukwu on 23rd October 1947. I am a knight of the Roman Catholic Church and a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.
    My early life was shaped by my maternal uncle who was a teacher under the Catholic Mission. I started my early education in 1954 in Sobe; a town about 12 miles from Auchi in Now Edo State (the Mid-West Nigeria). For Secondary Education, I attended the famous College of Immaculate Conception, Enugu from 1962 – 1966. My educational pursuit was disrupted by the civil war of 1967 – 1970. During the civil war, like all young men at the time, I joined the Militia and then the Biafra Organisation of freedom fighter (Boff) 1968 – 1970. At the end of the civil war in 1970, I was offered admission at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN to read pharmacy and obtained Bachelor Degree in Pharmacy in 1975. I started pharmacy career as internpharmacist 1975-1976 with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu and served the one year mandatory National Youth Corps Service in Yelwa Yauri, Sokoto State in 1976 – 1977. In August 1977, I joined the Anambra State Civil Service as pharmacist Grade 1. I served Anambra State in various capacities holding various positions and retired in 2007 after thirty (30) years of meritorious service. I retired on age. Without exaggerating,
    My career in government was exciting and fulfilling. I had a lot of exposure in the service as follows:
     As a young pharmacist attended a stores management course in Ghana for 3 weeks.
     Appointed instructor and Head of Department at the College of Health Technology Oji-River, an institution that trains middle level manpower.
     Member of the health Team handpicked to set up the ultra modern specialist hospital Abakaliki, now Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital.
     Member Enugu/Anambra Joint Task Force on counterfeit and fake drugs and later appointed chairman of the Task Force in Anambra State.
     Member Anambra State Consumer Protection Committee.
     Appointed Director of Pharmaceutical Service in 1997. As DPS was Central to the making and implementing of Policies. My tenure as DPS witnessed unprecedented development of pharmacist and pharmacy in terms of recruitment, training and promotion of pharmaceutical manpower and infrastructural development.
     Appointed Acting Permanent Secretary 2004 – 2005. As acting Permanent Secretary, led the State Technical Health Team to the National Council on Health in Benin and Abuja 2005 and 2006 respectively.
     Two-time member of the Governing Council of the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria and served in Appointment, Promotion and Discipline Committee of Council.
     Member of the 6-man team that registered a mega Drug Distribution Centre in Onitsha, Anambra State.
    2. At the end of secondary education in 1966, I had in mind studying Geology. However, my contact with a herbal ‘doctor’ in the course of military assignment during the civil war changed that. At the end of the war, I applied and was offered admission to study pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). At the University, the introductory lectures in pharmaconosy reassured me that I did not make a mistake. In the University, other students had high regard and respect for pharmacy students. Three months after graduation and as Intern Pharmacists we were granted car loan for cars of our choices. The House officers received more money. We did not understand and were too excited to probe. The reason became clear when I finally took up permanent appointment with Government. I discovered to my disappointment that Pharmacists were discriminated against in the public services. The conditions of service for Pharmacists were very poor. Pharmacists were not included in policy making committees in the hospital hierarchy. They were denied promotions and stagnated. Many of my contemporaries became disillusioned and left for the private sector. Those of us who were patient stayed and by the grace of God broke through the man-made bottle necks and made it to the top. Even in private sector is the same story. Quacks and challatans have taken over the profession. In spite of all these, I still believe I made the right choice. Today a lot has changed. We now have Pharmacists in top political positions as Governors, Ministers, Legislators, Ambassadors, Commissioners etc. I believe the future is very bright for Pharmacists and Pharmacy. I have nothing to regret.
    3. As Government Pharmacist, I worked first as hospital Pharmacist then as administrative Pharmacist. As Pharmacist Grade 1, I served under a senior Pharmacist for 3 years before posting to head a hospital Pharmacy. In those days, one was not allowed to function unsupervised until one has had five years’ post qualification experience, the intership and NYSC periods inclusive.
    At the time under reference, safe and good quality drugs were available in adequate quantities. The out-of-stock syndrome was non-existent. Patients received all the medicines in their prescriptions and at no cost to them.
    The drug distribution/supply chain was reliable and coordinated. Fake counterfeit medicines did not exist. There was paucity in the number of Pharmacist employed to function in Government hospitals arising from discrimination in recruiting Pharmacists. Consequently, non-Pharmacists namely Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Assistants were used to cover Pharmaceutical duties in some hospitals.
    Job satisfaction was lacking. Pharmacists in Government served under:
     Poor work environment
     Poor remuneration package
     Not included in decision making committees in the hospital hierarchy
     Stagnation in promotions
     Limitation of profession privileges
    The discrimination was not limited to Pharmacists in State services. It permeated the Specialist and Teaching Hospitals and even the army. It was not until 1980 that the Federal Chief Pharmacist was upgraded to Director of Pharmaceutical services GL 16. My classmate who joined the Nigeria Air Force had to leave because he was started on GL 07.
    During our time, pharmacists in Government service were denied the right to private practice. We did not have the opportunity of coordinated continue education programmes in pharmacy as is the case today.
    4. Controversies, Intrigues etc include:
     The poor working conditions for Pharmacists in the public service
     Reluctance of most State Governments, Teaching and Specialist Hospitals to accept newly qualified Pharmacists for intership training leading to a great number of them roaming the streets for placement.
     Dominance of Doctors as heads of hospitals at all levels
     Cheap substitution in hospitals for the Pharmacists using sub-professional health personnel.
     The open drug markets and circulation of fake, counterfeit and substandard medicines.
     Practicing Doctors keeping drug stores and dispensaries in defiance of extant drug laws.
     Protest from the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) against the appointment of a Pharmacist as Minister of health in 1993. The first pharmacist to be so appointed.
     Proliferation of Patent and proprietary Medicine vendors in the cities and the complete lack of political will by Government to cub the situation.
     The poisoned paracetamol syrup episode in which about 109 Nigerian children died. This dealth a devastating blow on the image of pharmacists.
     The case of the tragic death of Miss Cynthia Osokogu in which a young Pharmacist was implicated and currently standing trial for murder.
    5. The Pharmacy profession has a multitude of challenges to contend with. Many of the challenges have been there over the years. I will mention just a few:
    a. Pharmacy Law:
    Our laws are unwieldy and are not supportive of the Pharmacy profession. There are many overlaps leading to conflicts and faulty implementation. This problem can be overcome if the PSN is given statutory function o formulation of policies and execution of laws governing the practice of Pharmafcy.
    b. Professional Recognition:
    Pharmacists in Government are engaged under poor conditions of service. The number employed is usually grossly inadequate leading to cheap substitution with sub-professional health personnel to render Pharmaceutical functions in hospital. They are poorly remunerated and not promoted as and when due leading to stagnation and frustration. Pharmacists in hospital are not involved in decision making committees of the hospital.
    c. The uncoordinated drug distribution and menace of fake and counterfeit medicines. The flushing out of quacks and challatans will help reduce the situation. A stricter control of PMVs. Pharmacists should be encouraged to move into rural areas. Government should develop the political will to implement the Federal Government guideline on drug distribution.
    d. Fragmentation in the PSN:
    We should work hard to achieve internal consolidation in the PSN. There is need for the PSN to be seen as one house speaking with one voice. A situation where the position of a state branch on an issue conflicts with that of the national body on the same matter does not augur well for us.
    e. Professional Jealousies:
    The opposition that greeted the appointment of a Pharmacist as minister of health in 1993 and the Pharm. D. program are two clear cases. I have already talked about the professional jealousy in respect of hospital Pharmacists.
    To tackle these challenges, the PSN must be seen as one house. Individual Pharmacists must be disciplined and develop both professional and political clout. We should avoid fighting back as response to provocation and conflicts but rather adopt the more effective approach of dialogue and due process. We should understand and respect one another. Above all, more Pharmacists should be encouraged to occupy positions of strength.
    6. We are not doing badly,
    You will recall that a Pharmacist was appointed Minister of Health in 1993. Same year, Prof. O.K. Udeala was appointed Vice Chancellor University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). Late Prof. Dora Akunyili was D.G NAFDAC and later Minister for Information. Pharmacists are today Governors and Deputy Governors in their states. We have Pharmacists as Ambassadors, Commissioners, Captains of Industries, and Permanent Secretaries. I recall that in 1996, a Nigerian Pharmacist represented the third-world countries on the executive board of FIP for community Pharmacists. We are doing well. We still pray that more pharmacists occupy these positions of strength.
    7. Many years back, we had a beautiful and reliable supply/distribution system for drugs. This supply/distribution system was destroyed in 1980 when Government started issuing import licence to businessmen who are not Pharmacists. This led to the involvement of quacks and challatans in drug distribution, the development of open markets and the circulation of fake drugs. To curb the circulation of fake and counterfeit drugs we must evolve new drug supply/distribution chain that will eliminate the involvement of quacks and challatans in drug distribution and supply. The open drug markets must be dismantled. The Federal Government guideline on drug distribution is the answer. Government should develop the political will to implement the guideline. I expected that by now various State Governments should have set State Drug Distribution Centres (SDDC) as demanded by the guidelines. I also expect the PSN to take the lead in the implementation of the guideline as this is the only sure way Pharmacists can reclaim drug business in Nigeria. The PSN Anambra State has registered a Mega Drug Distribution Centre (MDDC) in Onitsha. The centre is yet to take off because Government lacks the political will to enforce compliance.
    8. I have seen quite a good number of PSN Presidents. Each and every one of them was good and special in his own way. Like my people say every gong has its special sound and music. The tremendous progress and growth the PSN has recorded so far is cumulative. It is like a relay race one continued from where the other stopped.
    9. Olumide is charismatic leader. He prepared himself well for the President of PSN. Prior to coming into office, he served the profession in various capacities. His tall and intimidating C.V. attests to this. He is conversant with the challenges of PSN that as soon as he came into office, he set up the machinery for dealing with them. He started building bridges of friendship and understanding within the PSN, with members of other professional groups, Government at all levels as well as Government functionaries.
    10. I was appointed State Director of Pharmaceutical Services from 1997 and retired 2007. This implies that for close to a decade, I was monitoring Pharmacists and the practice of Pharmacy. I was the Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Committee (PIC), member of National and State Executive Councils of PSN. As DPS I was also member of the Governing Council of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria for two tenures and served as member of the Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee of Council. I served in the Enugu/Anambra Joint Task Force on fake and counterfeit drugs and was later appointed chairman of the Task Force in Anambra State. I attended PSN meetings and conferences both at national and state levels as and when exigencies of office permit.
    11. Awards received for selfless service includes:
     Knight of the Catholic Church – 1999
     Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nig. – 2009
     Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Certificate in appreciation of valuable service as member of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria – 1999-2002
     Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Certificate in recognition of contribution as member of the of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria – 2003-2006.
     Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Certificate in recognition of contribution as member of the Governing Council of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria – August 2006 – November 2007.
     PSN Anambra State Merit Award Winner – 1998.
     Certificate of Honour PANS UNN 1974/75 in appreciation of satisfactory and excellent service as member and secretary of pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students.
     Rotary Club of Awka-GRA vocational Service Award of Excellence 2004/2005 Rotary year.
     Paracelsus Gold Merit Award by National Complementary and Alternative Medical Association.
     Grand Patron, Awka Diocesan Council of Catholic Men Association (CMO)
    12. In the past, the National Conference of the PSN was like a ritual. Every year we gather discuss matters affecting the profession. In some of the topics we fail to reach agreement and where resolutions are reached most of them are partially implemented or are not implemented at all. The following year the same topics are represented. Today a lot has changed. Most decisions are followed up. However, one feature of the AGM that has not changed is its rowdy nature which is a reflection of the fragmentation within the PSN. It is also believed that the South has for a long time dominated the leadership of the Society. Effort should be made at unification of interests so that we can have a unified Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.
    13. Geology. I would have been a geologist.
    14. The retirement age in the public service is sixty (60) years. Professors and High Court Judges retire at sixty five (65) and seventy (70) years because of the paucity in their number. A contradict appointment may be granted after retirement but not for more than five years. In my mind an active Pharmacist should retire at seventy-five (75) years. He needs some time to rest and reflect on his spiritual life.
    My advice is, be disciplined, honest, work hard and remain focused. They should adapt to professional advances in clinical pharmacy and pharmaceutical care. I believe that the future of pharmacy lies on specialization. We should therefore de-emphasize drug trading and emphasize drug consultancy. The young Pharmacists should make themselves relevant to the socio-economic welfare of any community in which they live. The future of pharmacy and pharmacists is bright but we must be committed to the course of pharmacy.

    Pharm. Sir Gilbert U. Echezona FPSN

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