These-Are-notMYwords, they are Punch’s Leke Baiyewu’s.
“Pharmacists have accused medical doctors of posing threats to the lives of Nigerians through unethical practices. They challenged them to an open debate over their activities in the health sector.
The President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Friday, accused doctors of breeding quacks through the training of auxiliary nurses and health attendants in private health institutions.
He said, “Medical doctors are about the biggest problem in health care. In Nigeria today, 99 per cent of them stock drugs in their private health facilities for prescription to patients. This is wrong; it is illegal. They constitute the biggest threat to lives in the health sector.
“Find out who trains auxiliary nurses and health attendants. When the trainees leave the setting, they spread to the communities to perpetrate illegalities.”
The PSN boss argued that pharmacists could not be held responsible for the purpose for which a drug is bought.
He blamed the unrestricted over-the-counter sale of prescription drugs on regulatory agencies. He called for the empowering of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria to enforce and prosecute. He also urged the government to budget more funds for the sector.
Akintayo said, “As for drugs, the problem in Nigeria is that there is unhindered access to all categories of drugs. The regulatory agencies are not empowered financially too. Government earmarks about five per cent of its budget for health care, compared to 13 per cent of the minimum required.”
The Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Francis Faduyile, however, said pharmacists were insincere with their allegations.
According to him, training of nurses and health workers in private hospitals had been banned in Lagos State.
“Pharmacists consult within their shops and this is beyond their work. It is part of the rights of a doctor to prescribe and to leverage on a number of drugs. The major question is, ‘Are pharmacists ready to stop consulting in their shops?’
“If you go to any pharmacy to complain of headache or fever, drugs will be prescribed for you. Go there with the result of a blood test; you will see them giving you drugs. It is not about professional fight; let us do the right thing.”