By Chris Chimezie
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has tasked Pharmacists in Nigeria to strive to tackle the worrisome menace of fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.
Akeredolu gave the task, when the National Executive of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) paid him a courtesy visit at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office in Akure.
Executive members of the Association was led by Pharmacist Samuel Adekola who is the first Ondo State indigene to be elected as National Chairman of the body.
Governor Akeredolu expressed his worry about pharmacists dispensing drugs in the country which has remained the same over years because they allow fake drugs to thrive.
“A lot of them have doctors’ prescription before pharmacists dispense drugs. What is the pharmacists’ association doing to address this?”,he asked.
The governor enjoined them to emulate their counterparts in advanced countries who only dispensed drugs with attached sources.
“In some countries like the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom, drugs can be traced to pharmaceutical outlets where they are bought so at the end of the day, if there is any problem, the source can be held responsible.
“Such outlets will not buy fake drugs and they determine what they buy. There are fake drugs that pharmacists allow to thrive and if possible, patent medicine shops should be phased out”, he stated.
While congratulating the new National Chairman of ACPN whom he described as a worthy ambassador of the Sunshine State, Arakunrin Akeredolu, thanked ACPN efforts on the Task Force to tackle fake drugs, saying he would support the move.
The Governor who promised that his administration would address shortage of pharmacists in the state health facilities for effective service delivery, assured that stakeholders would be brought on board for the successful implementation of the State Health Insurance Scheme.
Earlier, Pharmacist Adekola who was accompanied on the visit by his colleagues in the newly inaugurated executive of the ACPN assured the governor of the support of organized pharmacists in Nigeria for his administration on health related issues.
He described the Ondo State version of the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme Law as the most people-centered and easy to implement in Nigeria.
“The main issue we have here has to do with your law on the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme. Let me put the record straight Sir, Ondo State Law today in Nigeria, is the most people-centred, patient-centred , professionally acceptable and most easy to implement.
“There are states who have passed their laws five, seven years running and cannot implement such because of certain encumbrances.
“I want to let you know that we have passed the law to the National Secretariat of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to serve as benchmark for the remaining 17 states of the federation that have not had their own law on the Health Insurance Scheme.
“We will like to say that the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria will strongly support the implementation of that law’, he promised.
Pharmacist Samuel Adekola, an indigene of Supare-Akoko in Akoko South-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, commended the Governor for his overall achievements in every sector aimed at transforming the state.
“We are also here to commend you on the good job you are doing. My town, Supare-Akoko, happens to be one of the towns in the state that benefitted from your gesture of good road-network within your first 100 days in office.
“Looking round the state and seeing what you are doing on infrastructural development and roads construction, I’m happy to say, you are doing well and your efforts are commendable”, he stated.
The ACPN National Chairman used the opportunity to state that he would vigorously pursue a fight against fake and counterfeit drugs as a project that will drive the thrust of his tenure in office.
“We are also here to intimate you with a project I have decided to adopt as the National Chairman of ACPN, which has to do with Fight Against Fake Drugs.
“By the Grace of God, when I was the State Chairman of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Ondo State, God helped me to support the State Government then to set up the current State Task Force on Fake and Adulterated Products.
“In the Task Force, we have the Ministry of Health as Chairman, we have NAFDAC, NDLEA, PSN and some persons central to drug regulation in Nigeria”, he stated.
The ACPN Chairman however, urged members of the public to only patronise registered pharmaceutical shops with the ascribed logo.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, some members of the State Executive Council and top government functionaries joined the governor to host the National Executive members of the ACPN.