September 27, 2022

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), JNC International Limited, Clare Omatseye, has stressed the need for effective drug distribution policy to improve the nation’s health care system.
Speaking at the 15th Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) Biennial Conference in Lagos, last week, she said the importance of pharmacists to the improvement of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and growth of any country could not be over emphasised.
With the theme, “Pharmaceutical Value Chain for Optimal Unitisation- Where Are We?” she noted that there is need for concerted effort and collaboration to change the nation’s pharmaceutical industry’s narrative.
Omatseye identified challenges in the industry as brain drain, deplorable health infrastructure, low life expectancy, chaotic drug distribution, highly fragmented and inadequately coordinated distribution and supply chain, lack of drug security among others.
She said drug security is a major challenge adding that to bridge this gap, “we have to be self-sustaining. Seventy per cent of our drugs are imported and that is not sustainable. Nigeria cannot continue to be dumping ground for drugs. Local industries must be incentivised.”
She also stressed the need for seamless pharmaceutical value chain-from production to when it is administered on patients.
Omatseye condemned hawking of pharmaceuticals in the market, stressing that this unpleasant development has led to the growth of charlatans and quacks in the industry.
She said quackery is portraying pharmacists in bad light, insisting that all hands must be on deck to address this vice.
She added that giving loans to pharmacists on double digit interest rate is not sustainable.
The pharmacist suggested the need to self-regulate to provide job security, noting that the university curriculum on Pharmacy should be reviewed.
In her speech, ALPs National Chairman, Ebikemi Victoria Ukwu, said the vision of ALPs is to improve the health and general well-being of members of the society, while the mission is to promote health education, maternal and child health, research and development of medicinal plants (Project 91), campaign against drugs and substance abuse and mentoring.
Ukwu disclosed that the objectives of ALPs National Drug Policy are, to improve access to essential drugs by making them available and affordable to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of drugs available in the country and promote the national use of drugs in the country.
She said the conference also provided opportunity to launch the ALPs Education Fund to train and raise the girl-child.
Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Dere Awosika, said in the United States (U.S.), in 2001, the pharmaceutical value chain was estimated $350billion. By 2021, she said it was estimated $1.27trillion.
Awosika, who is also a pharmacist and Chairman Access Bank PLC said the economic, health and societal value of the pharmacists must be taken into cognisance. She disclosed that no one could create good health indices outside pharmacists.
Awosika advised: “We must change the mindset of whom we are. We are service and development oriented. All vacuums must be blocked through a consensus of positioning ourselves to put to practice what we have studied and pledged to do in our professional oath.”
Father of the Day and former Minister of Health, Julius Adelusi Adeluyi advised the lady pharmacists to be courageous and resilient in championing their cause.
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