To curb the increasing incidence of drug abuse and misuse in Nigeria, the big challenge of chaotic drug distribution must be tackled through creation of a well ordered drug distribution system, Pharm. NAE Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), has said.
Speaking with Pharmanews in an exclusive interview recently on the ban on codeine-containing preparations by the Minister of Health, Pharm. Mohammed said the open drug markets have been identified as sources of illicit distribution of drugs in the country, adding that streamlining drug distribution through the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG) will positively address the problem of chaotic drug distribution.
The PCN registrar, while hailing the ban on codeine, noted that it is a good starting point to tackle the hydra-headed monster of its abuse, adding that the Council, working with NAFDAC, would soon deploy the needed human and material resources to the field to implement agreed strategies to recall all codeine-containing syrups in the country.
He solicited the support of all Nigerians in the quest to stop the abuse of medicines, stressing that except the root cause of the menace is tackled the problem will persist.
Pharm. Mohammed stated further that the new PCN Bill presently awaiting passage at the National Assembly will equally help to strengthen the Council’s ongoing enforcement activities to pharmacies and patent and proprietary medicine vendors’ shops, adding that the PCN is determined to step up inspection, monitoring and supportive supervision activities on all registered facilities. “We will ensure that appropriate sanctions are applied to culprits and where necessary offenders will be appropriately prosecuted through the courts,” he said.
Mohammed also said that the PCN will support public health approach to solving the problem of drug abuse, adding that the Council will soon roll out strategies that include pharmacy screening, monitoring and surveillance as well as rendering needed assistance to the various rehabilitation centres across the country.
The PCN boss disclosed further that the Council will strengthen the inventory and product tracking systems at all levels of practice both in public and private sectors and also strengthen the use of electronic and paper documentation of controlled drugs and medicines for health care professionals. This activity, he said, is being coordinated by the Department of Food and Drug Services, Federal Ministry of Health and is supported by the United Nations Office on Controlled Drugs (UNODC)