On 15th of May, 2013, the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (AIPN) convened a town hall meeting between the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the pharmacy community.
In attendance at the meeting held at LCCI building, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, was the DG, NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, some top officials of NAFDAC, representatives of technical groups in pharmacy and many pharmacists.
In his welcome address at the occasion, Dr. Lolu Ojo, the national chairman, AIPN said that the purpose of the meeting is to forge a harmonious relationship between the regulator and regulated, adding that it is also in continuation of the determined efforts of the APIN executive committee to provide a platform for intellectual discourse on issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry and its operating environment, in particular.
Dr. Lolu Ojo noted that, in the pharmaceutical sector of the economy, regulation should not be lax and should be robust to engender confidence, but not too robust to choke the industry. He added that the meeting was thus to help in finding the right balance by all stakeholders, to give the country an optimal regulatory environment.
We commend the AIPN leadership for successfully organising this meeting and also commend Pharm. Remi Adeseun, the rapporteur, whose excellent handling of discourse at the event contributed significantly to its success.
We also commend the NAFDAC leadership at the meeting, especially the DG NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii. The NAFDAC boss demonstrated his desire for a harmonious relationship with pharmacists by, not only answering questions from participants, but also giving detailed explanations on some of the policies of NAFDAC affecting the pharmaceutical industry.
The NAFDAC boss also painstakingly explained the challenges facing the agency, as it strives to deliver on its mandate of regulating the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food and drugs in the country. He solicited for support and cooperation of organised pharmacy, as a key stakeholder in the pharmaceutical sector.
Various contentious issues like delays experienced in registration of products, getting permit to import or advertise products, NAFDAC enforcement activities and how they affect community pharmacists, as well as the fall-out from the use of new technologies, like Truscan and Mobile Authentication Service (MAS), for detecting fake drugs and its attendant effect on the integrity of community pharmacists were exhaustively discussed.
The world over, the production, distribution, sale and use of pharmaceuticals are heavily regulated and NAFDAC, over the years, has demonstrated its determination to play its role creditably, as a regulator. The agency needs and should, indeed, get the support of organised pharmacy.
Even though there was no apparent consensus on some of the issues discussed, there was a better understanding of how the issues affected both the regulator (NAFDAC) and the regulated (pharmacy community).
The meeting also showed that both NAFDAC and organised pharmacy have a joint responsibility to ensure that the pharmaceutical sector is not only properly regulated but it should equally be properly protected and promoted to cater for the over 160 million Nigerians.
It is our view that this kind of meeting should not be a one-off event. NAFDAC and organised pharmacy should have a culture of constantly interacting to exchange ideas on how to transform the industry. We believe that, by working together in harmony, NAFDAC (the regulator) and organised pharmacy (the regulated) can achieve more and Nigerians would be the prime beneficiary of such rapport.
“The meeting also showed that both NAFDAC and organised pharmacy have a joint responsibility to ensure that the pharmaceutical sector is not only properly regulated but it should equally be properly protected and promoted to cater for the over 160 million Nigerians.”