The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), has appealed to the federal government to provide functional healthcare services for poor Nigerians, before transiting fully to prescription drug system.
Mr. Christopher Egwom, chairman, ACPN, who made this call in an interview with journalists in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia state, observed that black market drug dealt, would increase, if government fails to provide good functional healthcare for the poor, before transiting to a system of purchasing certain drugs only through prescription.
Egwom explained that in the 1970s that Nigerians in the rural areas and towns, accessed dispensaries and government hospitals, which met the people’s medical needs and reduced their reliance on quacks and self medication. He noted that the provision of good medical services to Nigerians, some years ago, which strengthened the health system, exacted control on drug distribution, purchase and access.
According to him, unless a protective healthcare system is put in place before the prescription system begins operation fully, black market sales and drug abuse rates may likely go up.
The pharmacist stated further that persons, who patronise quacks or do self-medication, were pushed into such hazardous actions by poverty and inability to afford full and proper medical services. He noted that there was the need to make the National Drug Policy functional in all areas, to ensure safety of Nigerians in the new drug dispensation.
Egwom also decried the attitude of some people who take drugs and drug-related substances just because they have National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) numbers on them.