“PHARMACISTS, under the aegis of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and medical doctors belonging to the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), are trading blames over who is culpable for rising cases of drug abuse related deaths.
A Nigerian Newspaper, not The Guardian had on Sunday reported the Chairman of NMA Lagos Branch, Dr. Francis Faduyile, to have blamed deaths traceable to drug abuse on the failure of pharmacists to disallow the sale of drugs over the counter. Faduyile also said that Nigerians prefer to visit pharmacies and pharmacists, for their health needs.
Faduyile said: “Many lives were lost to wrong diagnosis and prescription. The major challenge is the people; they are the ones creating the problems. They walk into any laboratory for tests and instead of consulting with a pathologist, they directly visit pharmacists who prescribe and administer drugs on them.
“In Nigeria, people prefer the drug shops.”
But the PSN, Lagos Branch, in a statement signed by the Chairman, Akintunde Obembe, blamed doctors for the situation. The PSN said Nigerian doctors were particularly guilty of the phenomenon styled, dispensing doctors in both the public and private sectors.
Obembe said doctors are not trained to dispense drugs and therefore they are part of problems of drug abuse and misuse as well as the inherent complications of this unwholesome development. “The other dimension is that doctors through their hospital facilities purchase the drugs they use in practice in open markets and the scores of unregistered wholesalers presumably because the drugs are cheaper. In this way they sustain the illegality they are now complaining of,” he added.
The pharmacist said it is also very fundamental to indicate that private doctors in furtherance with their agenda to boost quackery stock and dispense drugs in unlawful facilities contrary to the provisions of Cap 535 LFN 1990 and the Fake Drug Act which prohibits the sales and dispensing of drugs in unregistered pharmacy facilities.
The statement reads: “The sale of drugs in Nigeria is ravaged by a departure from the global norm in many respects. In Nigeria today there are only about 3,000 registered pharmacy facilities in the various cadres of practice including retailers, wholesalers, importers and manufacturers. Of this number less than 2,000 are retailers who provide services directly to the consuming public.
It is a statement of fact that while there are less than 2,000 registered retail pharmacies and 10,000 patent medicine vendors, there exist over a million different drug sellers who are unregistered.”