The Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Ekiti State, Pharm. Akin Peter Adewale, has lamented that the majority of community pharmacies in the state are owned by non-pharmacists, stating that most trained pharmacists in the state are afraid of owning a pharmacy of their own for fear of the unknown.
Adewale disclosed this while speaking with Pharmanews in a recent interview. The Emure-Ekiti-born ACPN leader, who obtained a B.Pharm in Pharmacy from the University of Benin in 1985, also spoke on some other pressing issues affecting pharmacy practice in the state, as well as his accomplishments as chairman.
Below is the full interview:
Tell us about your pharmacy. When was it established and what were your objectives at inception?
Tolu Pakad Pharmacy and Stores, Ado-Ekiti, was established in April 1989. Then Ekiti was part of Ondo State, and there were few community pharmacy establishments in Ekiti.
My main objective was to provide pharmaceutical care for the people and not just operate a “buy and go” premises. The concept was, indeed, new. I was giving clients counsel on drugs and other related health issues even when they did not request for it.
Towards late the ‘80s, drug quality was becoming an issue; so I decided that quality would be the focus of my pharmacy. The premises was small but we always maintained the provision of quality drugs.
It took a while for people to know us, but words started going round that the pharmacy provides quality drugs and services. Today, to the glory of God, we are one of the leading community pharmacies in Ekiti State. This year, the pharmacy will be 31 years old.
Tell us about your achievements so far as ACPN chairman. What are those things that stand ACPN-Ekiti, out as an arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)?
I became the acting chairman as a result of the death of our then substantive chairman, Pharm. Olabintan, in April 2020. My colleagues in the practice asked me to become the acting chairman. I accepted the position in June 2020. so we have not done much, given the time frame and the present situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless I have been encouraging pharmacists both in government and those working for non-pharmacists to start their own community pharmacies.
Over the years, I have identified two main reasons why pharmacists do not want to have their own premises. The first is fear; while the second is that they don’t know how to start and where to start.
It is not even money. You may have the money that you think you need and still fail. I want to leverage my more than three decades experience as a community pharmacist and help midwife several pharmacist-owned premises. Presently in Ekiti State, majority of community Pharmacies are owned by non-pharmacists.
Meanwhile, in this part of the country, community and hospital pharmacists are the images that are seen by majority of the people outside the profession. Having realised this, we in the community practice have been providing excellent services even when our members work for non-pharmacist proprietors.
We encourage our members working for non-pharmacists that we should not just be a legal conditionality but we should remain as an absolute necessity in any premises where we work. This has enhanced our image and that of PSN in the tate.
What do you think are the major challenges facing pharmacy practice, especially in Ekiti State?
Drugs are items that should be handled by experts or under the supervision of an expert. They are not free trade items, even when they are in OTC. But it’s unfortunate that in Ekiti State and as we have everywhere in Nigeria, our laws allow non-pharmacists to handle some types of medications and you know in Nigeria, people look for loopholes in any system. These non-pharmacists sell anything in the name of drug-selling, How would you describe the professional relationship between the ACPN-Ekiti and other healthcare bodies in the state?
In Ekiti State, we in the community practice enjoy mutual relationship with other healthcare bodies. ACPN is a professional body, and we are also conscious of the fact that we are running business outfits. We must forge a cordial relationship with other healthcare bodies, as their goodwill is important to our business success.
If you were to advise the Ekiti State Government on measures or policies that can improve the healthcare sector in the state, what would be your advice?
My advice to the Ekiti State Government will be in the area of personnel motivation. Every specialist in the healthcare system should be allowed to reach the directorship level, as this will motivate every worker and encourage teamwork.
Where people work as a team, there is mutual respect for one another. This will enhance productivity and improve service delivery.