The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria has said that it will commence enforcement of the ban on the open sale of drugs in December.
The Registrar of the PCN, Elijah Mohammed, said this during an open government partnership retreat organised by the Development Research and Project Centre.
While fielding questions from journalists, Mohammed said the PCN, the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control would ensure that the ban on the open sale of drugs, which will begin on December 31, is fully enforced.
The ban on the open sale of drugs, he explained, is part of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines issued by the Federal Government in 2012.
Mohammed said, “Indeed, December 31, 2018, remains the deadline for the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines. We are very committed to this course and are quite optimistic.”
According to him, the guidelines will ensure the availability of good quality, safe efficacious and affordable drugs in the health care delivery system of the country considering the centrality of good quality drugs and vaccines in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the guidelines, states are to establish State Drug Distribution Centres while the private sector is to establish Mega Drug Distribution Centres.
The guideline states that drugs will no longer be sold in the open market because the manufacturers and the importers will channel drugs to only the SDDCs and MDDCs.
In this way, the government would have overcome a major challenge of uncoordinated drug distribution.
Also, health care facilities at all levels including the private ones are guided by the guidelines in their drug procurement activities in order to avoid the current practice that is lacking in professionalism and which is not in line with the provisions of the National Drug Policy.
The registrar said that construction of Coordinated Wholesale Centres were ongoing at the approved locations in some states.
The Coordinated Wholesale Centres are regulated centres and alternative to the unregulated open drug markets. He added that instead of just pushing the open drug markets out, the government approved CWCs to relocate them to.
He said, “The fact remains that the projects are very capital-intensive and efforts are being geared towards their completion. However, be rest assured that appropriate modalities that will guarantee smooth transition are being put in place.”
Mohammed further stated that great attention would be given to sanitising the practice environment through the strengthening of enforcement activities.
He said that he would also continue to promote the use of Information Communication Technology in the regulatory processes and give attention to the regulation of pharmacy technicians and patent and proprietary medicine vendors.
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