The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) has expressed concern over the dwindling number of production pharmacists in the country.
In a chat with Pharmanews during the recent Purple Tie Luncheon, held by University of Lagos (UNILAG) Pharmacy Alumni, Pharm Gbenga Falabi, chairman of the association, said he was worried that the trend, if not properly checked, could soon cause several local pharmaceutical companies to close down.
“If you look at the number of production pharmacists that we have today, it is not enough to go round the country.
“They can even be counted by just calculating the number of pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in Nigeria. Mind you, not all these companies have production pharmacists anyway,” he said.
While lamenting that some colleagues had ended up in the banking, telecommunications, and oil sectors, which they perceived as being more lucrative, Falabi encouraged young pharmacists to chart a new course that would make the profession proud, especially in the area of industrial pharmacy.
The NAIP boss further disclosed that, as way of checking the decline in the population of production pharmacists in the country, the association had concluded arrangements to conduct enlightenment tour round pharmacy schools with a view to addressing final year students on benefits associated with industrial pharmacy.
“Of course, we know some pharmacy graduates are not interested in such field. That is why we are taking the campaign to them. It is quite necessary that young pharmacists should begin to pride themselves in the profession,” he stressed.
In a separate interview, Dr Lolu Ojo, immediate past chairman of NAIP, concurred with his successor.
He noted that the industry had indeed suffered a human resource deficit in the past few years, adding that the keynote speaker at the last NAIP national conference alluded to the fact that the best brains in the practice were no longer attracted to the industry.
“This has opened the industry to the near take over by ‘mercenaries’. Industrial pharmacy is the most lucrative aspect of the profession. What is happening now is a cultural shift to the left and it is temporary,” he reassured.
Ojo further stated that he was convinced that, with the right kind of leadership particularly at the regulatory level, industrial pharmacy would get back to the position of quality service and professionalism that had always characterised the profession.
On what could be done to make industrial pharmacy more appealing to young pharmacists, the former NAIP chairman hinted that the solution is multidimensional.
“The industry is too fragmented and we need to have semblance of orderliness before sanity can prevail. The orientation of the young ones needs to change to determine what they want.
“If they are humble and patient enough, they can acquire the necessary skills and competencies that will be required in future if they choose to be industrial pharmacy entrepreneurs,” he said.
When prodded to give the recent statistics of industrial pharmacists presently working in the country, Ojo remarked that the number could be up to 1500 or more.”
Contributing to the discussion, the managing director of Merit Healthcare Limited opined that pharmacy schools were trying their best under a very difficult environment.
“I however think the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the regulatory bodies need to do more in terms of control, advocacy, education and funding,” he said.
The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigerian, (NAIP), is a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, and the professional body of all pharmacists in the industrial sector in Nigeria having over 300 companies as corporate members.
NAIP’s uniqueness derives from its technical functions and diverse membership cutting across the manufacturing, marketing, distribution, consulting and publishing segments of the industry.