3million Bottles of Codeine-Containing Syrup Consumed Daily in Kano, Jigawa

Unless there is urgent intervention, experts have warned that Nigeria may be building a nation of   drug addicts. This is not unconnected with latest reports which show that 3 million bottles of codeine are consumed daily in Kano and Jigawa States. Even the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration of Nigeria, NAFDAC, has expressed worry over uncontrolled use of codeine containing cough syrups across the country. Also just last week, the Medical Director, Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Oluyemisi Ogun, had confirmed a sharp increase in the number of patients with drug-related cases seen at the hospital in recent times. Ogun who spoke at a symposium put together by the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN, with the theme: “Emergency Response to Disease Outbreaks:
The Way Forward in Nigeria”, said although the threat of communicable disorders was evident, the nation ought to be more worried about non-communicable disorders like drug abuse. “We are talking about communicable diseases, but we have another epidemic on hand, which is the issue of drug abuse. We are seeing more and more of this and it is a menace. I would urge that attention be drawn to it urgently. “There is no family now that is not affected. Our children are at risk as much as our husbands, wives and other relatives. It is actually more than an epidemic. In all the nooks and crannies around us there are people selling drugs and we needed to bring this threat to the realm of the public and the government for us to be able to do something about it.”
Noting that the issue of drug abuse should at the forefront of the public domain, Ogun noted that all the security agencies, particularly the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA that have a role to play should be able to do so much. In her submission, a Deputy Director of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration of Nigeria, NAFDAC, Mrs Abayomi Bolaji who spoke on behalf of the Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye raised alarm over the spate of abuse of codeine containing cough syrups. Bolaji lamented that the Agency was worried about the incessant abuse of codeine in recent times. “We have codeine which is currently being abused. I want to let you know that in the course of our regulatory activities, if we find codeine in a Patent Medicine Store, the person will be heavily sanctioned. Codeine has medicinal use and what the Agency does is that we give permit for it to be imported and sold.”
Bolaji said NAFDAC goes as far as collating the stock from the warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and takes stock of what the importer has used and imported to produce and follow up distribution. “But unfortunately, we know people cut corners. Codeine containing syrups are not supposed to be freely sold, they are not Over-the-Counter drugs but somehow they get into the hands of people through the pharmacies or Patent medicine dealers, but it is part of our regulatory functions to control the circulation and importation of these drugs. “If peradventure a manufacturer cannot give account of the quantity that he was given permit to import, he is heavily sanctioned and may not be given permission to import next time. Because of the education of the pharmacists they cooperate but the patent medicine dealers y are the ones selling at night, and we cannot get them when we go during the day time.
But it has been discovered that they go as far as hiding these drugs with persons in the next shop, maybe with a tailor or barber. People need to be told the consequences of their action. It is not only just about money. The demand for codeine containing cough syrups is so high.” Findings by Vanguard showed that following the alarm raised three months ago of rising incidences and reports of drug abuse, particularly codeine-containing cough syrups in the 19 Northern states of the Federation, the Senate and other relevant stakeholders are converging in Kano today for a two- day roundtable on drug abuse. It was reported that in 2015 alone, over 2,205 people were arrested in North-West geo-political zone by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, over drug-related abuses.
Vanguard gathered that the roundtable will enable the Senate effectively analyze Nigeria’s response to the menace and come up with appropriate strategies on the way forward. During the roundtable, the drivers of drug abuse in Nigeria are to be isolated, with the aim of identifying the psychosocial and medical impact of the phenomenon, assessing current responses, legislative gaps and opportunities for action. Among expected outcomes include: gaining a better understanding of drug use, prevalence, trends and patterns in Nigeria; understanding the current government and Civil Society capacity and efforts towards addressing drug abuse and related issues; gain insight into legislative, policy gaps and develop an Action Plan for interventions by the National Assembly and other stakeholders. It would be recalled that Senate, had in October, this year, raised the alarm about the drug abuse threat in the 19 states, where women, young girls in tertiary institutions, working class ladies, married, unemployed women displaced by Boko Haram insurgency, among others, were involved in drug abuse.
The Senate had mandated its Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing menace of cough and other prescriptive drugs abuse and report back to the Senate on the needed legislative interventions to combat the trend. The senators stressed that secondary school students consumed cough syrups regularly. The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said that the Senate will take necessary actions to reduce the growing menace. According to NAFDAC, Codeine is an opiate used for its analgesic (pain reliever) and more commonly antitussive effect (cough suppressant) in cough syrups. “Codeine containing cough syrups are effective in the management of certain coughs. However, it has a high potential for abuse and may present some serious adverse reactions to the user. For these reasons, access to codeine containing cough syrups has been restricted in several countries. Some of the known adverse effects of codeine include: respiratory depression; hallucination and physical dependence as a result of continued use.
NAFDAC is currently working with the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) to arrest the increasing abuse of these cough syrups in Nigeria. NAFDAC is embarking on massive public enlightenment campaign on the dangers of abuse of codeine containing medicines in Nigeria. The Agency has put in place strategy to limit the supply and distribution of codeine containing cough syrups in Nigeria. Prescribers and dispensers are encouraged to prescribe and dispense these cough syrups rationally. Consumers are advised to take  codeine containing cough syrups only on prescription by health care professionals.
Source: Pharmatimes

Drug Abuse: Senate Goes After Importers, Distributors

The President of the Senate Dr. Bukola Saraki has vowed to tackle the menace of drug abuse from its root by going after importers and distributors of drugs.
This is even as the Senate begins a roundtable with state governments, local governments, traditional rulers, the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria and NGOs, to tackle the menace.
In a series of tweets on his twitter handle @BukolaSaraki, Saraki stressed that the tackling the interplay between dirty money and drug importation and distribution would help tackle its prevalence.
Saraki expressed grave worry at the current spate of drug abuse saying that even nursing mothers were held by the clutches of drugs and other substances.
The President of the Senate therefore vowed that the roundtable will send a clear message to all Nigerians about its resolve to tackle drug abuse.
“The #DrugAbuse epidemic has been of a particularly virulent nature, touching all social strata and afflicting families and young lives. Not even nursing mothers are spared; future generations are already endangered.
“The stark reality is that so many Nigerians are shadows of their former selves because of drugs. This is intolerable. Furthermore, the very dangerous interplay between dirty money and drug importation, distribution and abuse must stop.
“We need to better understand where the strengths and weaknesses of our drug enforcement agencies lie, in order to be able to take measures to strengthen them.
“We need to send a clear signal from Kano to all Nigerians that this drug use epidemic must be controlled, and can be controlled.
The Senate is in Kano state for a roundtable following a resolution adopted in October where it was disclosed that 3 million bottles of cough syrup with “codeine” was being consumed in the North daily.
Consequently, the Senate mandated it’s Joint Committee on Drugs and Narcotics and Health to investigate the growing menace of abuse of cough syrup and other prescriptive drugs.
According to the National Drug Law enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Kano state has the highest number of youths engaged in drugs and substance abuse followed by Jigawa state.
In recognition of the destructive effect of the high spate of drug abuse in Kano state, President Muhammadu Buhari while on a working visit recently, ordered a crackdown on drug barons in the country.
In his remark at the opening of the reoundable which ends on Tuesday, Saraki said: ““I feel sure that by the end of this first Roundtable, we would have sent that crucial message to every corner of Nigeria – that drug abuse represents everything that is against our values as a decent society.
“We will no longer stand for this scourge which is destroying the social structures of our beloved country. It is time to say: Enough. Let us wake the nation.”

Fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril Resurfaces in Nigeria

There are strong indications that fake Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril anti-hypertensive medicines have resurfaced in drug markets across the country and this is coming as the new director- general of NAFDAC is sending a strong warning to promoters of counterfeit medicines to desist from their criminal activities or face the consequences.

The circulation of fake versions of Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril became subject of media headlines late 2016 when the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials, apparently acting on a tip-off, paid unscheduled visit to a popular drug market in Lagos and consequently, sealed about 5 shops in connection with un-registered Teva products.

The Lagos visit by NAFDAC officials was the first in a move planned by the agency to cover the whole country according to official reports then. It was gathered that a combination of NAFDAC unscheduled visit and the spontaneous support the agency received from the leadership of the market Union in Lagos instilled fear among promoters of the fake medicines and consequently they went underground and had been operating secretly till recently when they resumed their criminal activities.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd is an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. It cannot immediately be confirmed if the makers of the original generic Amlodipine and Lisinopril used for the management and treatment of hypertensive conditions is aware of this development since no official statement has been issued by the pharmaceutical giant on the proliferation of fake versions of its popular drugs in Nigeria.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries according to industry experts, is among the leading generic makers around the world with a credible track record in genuine drug formulation and could not have been in the know concerning the circulation of fake versions of its anti-hypertensive medicines in Nigeria. Instead, it is believed that promoters of the fake versions of Teva products in Nigeria may be cashing-in on the popularity of Teva anti-hypertensive brands that are in high demand in the country to reap-off and endanger the lives of innocent Nigerians who use the medications.

Those who share this view believe that if the pharmaceutical giant was aware of such ugly development, it would have acted swiftly to stop it to avoid its reputation being smeared. To support this line of thinking, reference is made to similar challenges Teva had faced in recent past around the world, but it however, took steps to nip them in the bud.

For instance in April, 2013 the Financial Times of London reported how Teva discovered sophisticated fakes of its Omeprazole, a popular off patient heart burn medicine in Germany.

According to a statement credited to Robert Koremans, head of speciality medicines at Teva, the Israeli-based generics manufacturer, said his company had begun purchasing its own products from pharmacies to test after discovering fake versions of its omeprazole. “This is making us rethink our approach,” he said. “Patient safety comes first. We were surprised to discover the counterfeiting.”

Ratiopharm, a subsidiary of Teva, the report further said, was alerted by a patient in Germany who became suspicious of spelling mistakes in the instructions on a packet of its omeprazole, a gastric reflux treatment. The drug contained genuine pharmaceutical ingredients but was not produced by the manufacturer, as claimed on the box.

Similarly, The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), had in May 2012 said that consumers and health care professionals should be wary of counterfeit versions of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Adderall 30 milligram tablets that are being sold on the Internet.

The FDA according to the Wall Street Journal report said its preliminary laboratory tests revealed that the counterfeit version of Teva’s Adderall 30 mg tablets contained the wrong active ingredients.

The activities of promoters of fake Teva anti-hypertensive medicines in Nigeria appear to be bearing the footprint of determined syndicates who would stop at nothing to ensure that drug markets across the country are flooded with counterfeit versions of the popular Teva Amlodipine and Lisinopril.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed director general of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, had in her maiden address to the staff of the agency recently in Abuja assured of her administration’s commitment to sustain the tempo in the war on counterfeit medicines in Nigeria until the country is rid-off it.

Source: Pharmatimes

How the Pharma Industry in Nigeria Can Compete Globally –NIROPHARM President

Pharm. Lekan Asuni is the President, Association of Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers(NIROPHARM). He is also the founder and CEO of LEFAS Pharmaceuticals Limited. In this interview with PharmaTimes Correspondent, GABRIEL IFINNWA, he reveals how drugs manufactured locally can meet international standards, and why the pharma industry still needs government support. Excerpts:

What are your major achievements as chairman, Association of Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM)?

As you are aware NIROPHARM represents multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturing companies locally. The Association sets and operates on a very high standard. We ensure that the international best practices are met locally. This we do through every company that represents the multinational pharmaceutical companies or through their representatives. Since, assumption of office, we have had some modest achievements. Principally, one major achievement is in the area of bridging capacity gaps – making sure that the international best practices are implemented locally.

So there has been heavy investment, in both material efforts and monetary resources to ensure an upscale, especially in the training of personnel in the relevant areas. Still, on the issue of capacity building, we have held several of this for some of our regulators like NAFDAC and other local agencies in different areas just to see how the global best practices can be implemented locally. We have also held capacity building for diverse stakeholders outside the pharmaceutical industry. Also, we have been able to champion the innovative deployment of technology in the fight against counterfeit and unwholesome medicine/drugs. We were the first to embrace technology in the fight against fake and substandard drugs. Another achievement is that we have played significant role in ensuring effective collaboration and harmony across various other trade groups and professionals within and outside the sector. In addition, we have expanded the membership strength of the Association to a very large extent. Under my tenure we have been able to organise different fora where stakeholders in the industry converge to talk on a number of topical issues.

What can be done to regulate the challenge of open drug market in Nigeria?

In the early colonial days, things were more structured. We had about 2 to 3 drug stores distributing products across Nigeria. But we started getting it wrong with the crisis in the late 80s when we had recession. The government started issuing import permits and lots of people used this import permit to do whatever they liked. That is how it started. Ideally, there should not be an open market. But going forward, I believe that it is important for those in the industry to practice in an environment where there is adequate regulatory oversight. What is lacking in the open market is that there is no access to regulation. We don’t know exactly in what conditions the drugs are being stored. Once there is no regulation, you find sub-standard drugs in circulation. I believe that those that operate in the open market have their reasons.

Some of them believe they will get more patronage and all that. But, this can still be achieved through what government is proposing with the national drug distribution guideline. This guideline will show underserved areas where people will be encouraged to set up their practice. The issue we have in Nigeria is the lack of appropriate data. I think the critical element of this guideline is the ability to map existing practice outlets with population. It can be able to tell people that there are some un-served population. It will detail the areas where the market is sizeable for you to cater for. So, I believe that once people get to know about some of the benefits of having effective regulation, through enlightenment, education, provision of adequate facilities needed, it will make it easy for those in the industry to imbibe the change. Ideally, let people practice in an environment where there could effective regulatory oversight. When this happens, the issues we have with our distribution system will be minimised as this will enable all the regulatory bodies like NAFDAC, PCN, and Nigeria Customs among others, to have access to these places. Sincerely, I think the way the industry is evolving with the deployment of technology in drug distribution it will help to curb some of the challenges in the industry.

How can drugs manufactured in Nigeria be able to meet highest international standards?

Firstly, before a product is released into the market you need to go through the regulatory body, NAFDAC. And NAFDAC ensures that the products meet the required standard. NAFDAC also ensures that the facility meets the minimum required standard for it to operate, especially in regards to its capacity to meet good manufacturing best practices. But you know after the first batch of that process, I am not sure if there is subsequently, a follow-up after the initial stages. This is not an indictment on NAFDAC because there is so much that the regulatory body can handle. In some developed countries, they have bio-equivalent centres to run tests on some of the drugs and their compositions to determine the effects on the body. There are so many other measures put in place to check aside the chemical constituents. More importantly, for imported products, coming into the country, we need to have a proper process to ensure that they conform to standards.

There has to be constant testing and data gathering, even if the data they submit possess the relevant Quality Certificate (QC); the regulatory agency must ensure these things are in order. For the local manufacturers, the drugs can meet international standards. And some of the local companies in Nigeria are already doing this. A few years ago no factory in Nigeria was WHO accredited, but nowadays we have 3 to 5 companies coming up, and more others are coming up. What this shows is that anybody that wants to set up a drug factory should ensure from the onset that it meets the international best practices, especially WHO certification. That is the only way you can be sure of the quality and it makes them competitive in the international market to be able to partake in tenders for relevant products.

As I mentioned earlier, the Pharma industry in Nigeria is still heavily import dependent. The machineries, raw materials and the addictives are still imported. So my point is that, the quality of the products starts from the quality of the manufacturers input. The big multi-national companies audit those they source their raw materials from, because they want to be sure. So, over here we should do the same. Apart from this we need to consider how these raw materials can be sourced locally. If we cannot source the active raw materials, what about sourcing the additives? The availability of machinery still needs to be resolved too. Next is the manpower, which is making sure that the personnel that will work in the industry are well trained. The university training those to work in the industry and the industry itself must work together to ensure that the quality and quantity of people employed can deliver on the role and what is required. Again, we must ensure that the quality of the processes and procedures are strictly adhered to. The manufacturers need to be diligent to follow through on this.

Again, the manufacturers still need to have access to cheap funds. Majority of the manufacturers source their funding through the banks. The banks sometimes charge high interest rates on the loans. This is still a big issue. This prevents a lot of the manufacturers in investing heavily on the quality of their products. The other element is to also ensureconstant monitoring of the industry by the various regulatory bodies. In other advanced countries, they do this. So, we should do same here in Nigeria. Nigeria has a huge population, so we can be a huge player in the West African sub-region.We need to build on our image not only locally but internationally. This will obviously help.

How do you think the Government can help pharmaceutical manufacturers in the country?

I think the pharmaceutical industry is still not considered a key sector in Nigeria. If the government could have a bank of Agriculture, what stops them from having bank of Health or Pharmaceutical industry? This issue should not be diluted with other various sectors. Funding through a proper mechanism is very important. This will help to drive focus and convergence of efforts in all that we are doing. I have nothing against the Bank of Industry (BOI). But I think we need to have a bank of health or pharma industry to drive forward our agenda. If you look at what the Asians are doing for instance, we should learn from them. For instance, they have dedicated cluster development parks. In India, they have this. In Nigeria, we are all aware that getting a parcel of land is not easy, in terms of the monetary aspect. If you bring in the issue of roads, power, and the rest, it is really a challenge. Imagine, if we have a pharma park in Nigeria, all of the issues of associated with infrastructure will be addressed there. There will be concentration on skills and expertise.The land will be on lease. When we have such places, global developers can come in and build structures along the line.

How do you see the fight on fake drugs and what strategy do you think should be employed to effectively tackle the menace?

Counterfeiting is an illicit trade. It is like blood money. People will always try to circumvent whatever the government is doing because of financial benefits. So many efforts have been made to fight substandard medicines. And these efforts need to be sustained. The regulators need to be proactive all the time. The regulators need to be steps ahead of the counterfeiters. Firstly, I am of the opinion that the penalties to deal with those who deal in counterfeit drugs is like a slap on the wrist. I think the penalty is not stringent enough. Another way to fight this is adoption of the drug distribution guideline. This guideline if effectively implemented with transparency and leveraging on technology, will go a long way in minimising fake drugs. Another issue is speedy dispensation of justice. Most of these cases stay too long in the law courts. Even when you apprehend and decide to prosecute, it takes so long before the case is completed. Some people do not have that length of time to wait for court judgement, so they give up and will rather move on.

Source: Pharmatimes

70% Of Nigeria’s Pharma Sector Is Import Dependent – Falabi, NAIP Immediate Past National Chairman

Pharm. Gbenga Falabi is the General Manager Green Life Pharmaceuticals Limited, and the National Chairman of Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP). In this interview with PharmaTimes Correspondent, GABRIEL IFINNWA, he gives an insight into how the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria can stop being import dependent, and why a pharmacist should be appointed as the Director General of NAFDAC. Excerpts:

What are your achievements as National Chairman of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP)?

First, we set out (I and my executive) to ensure unity of purpose within the industry. That was the mandate we were given. Secondly, as an association we looked at ways we can improve on the welfare of our members. Also, to strategise on ways the profession can contribute to overall growth and advancement of the health care sector in the country. Looking back, I will say, we are happy that with God’s grace we achieved much in 4 years. Foremost, we have in place the February bi-monthly economic meeting which has become an event the whole industry look forward to. We bring in economic experts during this meeting to speak on various economic issues relating to different aspects of Nigeria’s economy. I can say that members/pharmacists are more knowledgeable and can discuss much better about the industry. On our agenda to improve welfare of members, capacity building is very important. For instance, if I am relevant to a business, the employer/organisation should be able to appreciate what I can offer that business or organisation.

This will definitely bring about value creation, more money in business, thus more money will be accrued to the individual. This was the approach the National Executive took. Our national conference in the last 4 years witnessed a lot of turn-out of members. Members/pharmacists/stakeholders were scampering to attend. In an association of over 250 corporate members, you find close to 150 members willing to attend. Some members who could not attend, you find that they usually request for the keynote speakers address/presentation. We also took advantage of technology and set up a website for the association. Every 72 hours we upload all papers at our various meetings. This has gone a long way in improving our membership and also helped to bridge the gap within the industry. Right now we have 3 major trade groupings within the industry (i.e. local manufacturers, Importers and representatives of multinationals within the country). What NAIP has done is to create a platform for interaction. Also, NAIP was able to intervene in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) to discuss the government’s import tax adjustment. The reaction could have been worse, if not for the intervention.

The issue of drug over-dose has resulted in deaths in Nigeria. What do you think should be done?

This is one of the things, which unfortunately I was not able to do during my tenure. To raise enough funds to create awareness campaigns and sensitisation programmes for some of these issues. I certainly believe that the Government through the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has a budget and so do have a major role to play in sensitising the citizenry. The first thing they tell you at the school of pharmacy is that all drugs are poison. It is important we get Nigerians to recognise this fact. I have been in a pharmacy where a patient walks in and asks for ibucap, paracetamol and other drugs of the same mechanism. This is really wrong. The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria also has a role to play alongside the other technical groups such as NAIP, ACPN, among others. Intensive awareness campaign should be the focus instead of the constant bickering in the sector.

Do you think the substantive DG NAFDAC should be a pharmacist?

The law says a Pharmacist /pharmaceutical scientist should be appointed as the Director General of NAFDAC. I do believe that those that made the law are very competent enough, that is why the law was made. I was in chat with some group where we all noted that it is only in this profession where we do minimally 6 pharmacological training. No other health profession in the country go through such amount of training. Pharmacologists are trained to know what the effect of drug in the body is. So, who else should be at the helm of affairs to regulate the drug sector, if not someone who is trained for that purpose?

Do you think the new drug distribution guideline has reduced the scourge of fake drugs in Nigeria?

Drug distribution is a major tool in fighting counterfeiting. The drug distribution guideline in Nigeria was launched few years ago. As we speak it is already in place. In July this year, the enforcement will begin. Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) as part of the guideline will ensure that we no longer have sales/medical representatives hawking pharmaceuticals. PCN will also be able to look at companies itself where these drugs are being sold. I believe strongly, if well enforced it can be able to curb the scourge of fake drugs in the country which unfortunately has gone up in the last couple of months. This is due to the fact that genuine manufacturers were not able to access foreign exchange. And also, I believe that the delay in appointing a substantive D.G NAFDAC is not helping matters.

How can the pharmaceutical industry stop being import dependent?

During our last national conference held recently, we focused more on this. Right now about 70% of pharmaceuticals are being imported into the country. The local manufacturers have come to say that their members are producing at less than 20% of installed capacity. What we have been driving through NAIP is for our local manufacturers to see today’s importers as potential prospects/customers. Right now, we have 70% of people who want to trade within the pharmaceutical industry who have found such capacity and capability to outsource outside the shores of Nigeria. The onus lies with the local manufacturers to take the initiative. In the same way, the Indian exporters/ manufacturers come into Nigeria to organise a trade engagement with potential Nigerian manufacturers. Local manufacturers should do the same. Rather than bring machine owners from India, let them have an expo or forum where manufacturers or Technical Directors’ capabilities in Nigeria are targeted in tandem with current happening in the sector. Also, during my opening remark during the last conference I talked about the vaccine laboratory wasting away in Yaba, Lagos. We called on the government during that conference to look at the facility. Just recently, the Federal Executive Council approved the laboratory to produce vaccine in collaboration with the MOU signed between the federal ministry of health and May & Baker. This is a good step in the right direction, taking into consideration the recent meningitis outbreak in the country. The Government at all levels should make the health sector a major priority in Nigeria. The Oil & Gas sector has become a major priority for all. For some, it is okay to have scarcity of drugs. This is not a good sign at all. When health is put as the number one priority, we then can build a healthy society. We have the health insurance scheme, but how can we make the scheme more sustainable and thus create more awareness for the scheme. This should be the way to go.

What role should the government play to make drugs become more affordable in Nigeria?

My association and other trade groups within the industry made several representations to the Ministry of Trade and Investment, Ministry of Finance and Health Ministry, and other agencies to get more access to needed funds. Even the local manufacturers, 98 percent of their input are import based. If you consider those with their manufacturing business outside the shores of the country, you will find that the industry is highly import-dependent. And we need access at a very good rate. What the government should do now is to grant more access at the official window to the needed forex. Also, the government needs to become more transparent with the bidding process especially for medicines. Thirdly, I think NAFDAC should look beyond bio-equivalence before products are registered. I am not saying that bio-equivalence is not a pointer, but NAFDAC needs to take it a step higher and look at bio-availability. Price should also not be mainly the basis. I want to add that we have some local manufacturers who are in the process of getting the WHO qualifications for some products. We also should look at the products in circulation.

What roles should a pharmacist play in the health care system, taking into consideration their training?

The training of pharmacist, I think has little to play in improving our health care indices. It is important for other health care players to recognise that all professionals in the sector all have a role to play. Let us take a look at a football team for instance. There is no way a striker will not play with the midfielders, talk-less the goalkeepers cannot do without his defenders. So the health care system is all about team work. The Doctor knows everything about the disease, so also the pharmacist knows about the drugs. Where then is the competition? At the end of the day the patient will suffer – unfortunately. The patient plays a big role too in all of this. The patient knows where it hurts. On getting things better, it is on recognising the roles of each professional in the sector.

Source: Pharmatimes

PSN Venerates Ayebae, Obiora, Soremekun With Honourary Membership Awards

Amidst a deafening applause, the trio of Dr Chukwuka Obiorah, chairman of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals; Dr Fidelis Ayebae, managing director of Fidson Healthcare Plc and Mr. Femi Soremekun, managing director of Biofem Pharmaceuticals were inducted into the hall of honourary membership of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).

The investiture ceremony which took place at the just concluded 89th Annual National Conference held at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigbo International Conference Centre in Minna, Niger State on November 8, 2016 has several distinguished pharmacists (both within and outside the country) in attendance.

While presenting them with awards, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, PSN president, announced to the audience on a lighter mood that by the power conferred on him as the president, he is glad to confer the society’s first set of honourary membership awards on the recipients who he strongly believed have paid their dues in the pharmaceutical industry. “Until I came across him, I didn’t know that Dr (Fidelis) Ayebae is not a pharmacist. Yet he has built a factory that costs about N9 million and made donation of over N3 million to both the PSN and board of fellows. Now my office at the secretariat is looking brand new,” he enthused.

On Soremekun, Yakasai disclosed that long before he became the president, the Biofem owner is known to be a strong advocate of the society. He added that manay donations and relative-assistance rendered to the PSN usually have Soremekun’s handwriting all over them.
The last of the trio, Obiorah, has been described as an enviable personality many pharmacists look up to “In fact, nobody will ever believe that the owner of Lonart antimalarial drug is nowhere near being a pharmacist. Yet his foot prints are everywhere. I hereby congratulate you today as I can confidently say that you have earned your honourary membership of this society,” the PSN president stressed.

In response, two recipients of the awards (Ayebae and Soremekun) applauded the award and pledged to not only abide by all the society’s rules and regulations but equally strive to always represent the profession well. The last recipient, Obiorah, threw the audience into a hilarious mood when he announced that he has already atoned for his ‘sin’ now that two of his children are trained pharmacists.

In attendance at the event were Pharm. N.AE. Mohammed, registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, former chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Olu Akanmu, senior vice president, retail banking at First City Monument Bank (FCMB); Olumide Akintayo, immediate past president of the society and Pharm. Ade Popoola, former chairman, PSN Board of Fellows; Prof Mike Ogirima, president, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA); Prof. Isaac Adewole, minister of health; Hajia Amina Bello, wife of Niger State governor and Dr Mustapha Jibril, Niger State commissioner for health.

Others were Sen. (Pharm.) Eme Ufot Ekaette, past PSN president; Dr Ibrahim Getso, Kano commissioner for health; Professor (Mrs.) Mbang Femi-Oyewo, MFR, former deputy vice chancellor of Olabisi Onabanjo University; Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, PSN national secretary; Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm. Arinola Joda, PSN national publicity secretary Pharm. Ike Onyechi, managing director of Alpha Pharmacy; directors of pharmaceutical services and other relevant stakeholders.

culled: Pharmanews Online

89th PSN Annual National Conference 2016 Communique

The theme of the conference was: “Pharmaceutical Industry Contributions to National Development” The conference was declared open by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, SAN, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ably represented by the Honourable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole, FAS. Other dignitaries at the opening ceremony included: His Excellency, the former Deputy Governor of Niger State and Chairman of the Opening Ceremony, Alhaji Ahmed M. Ibeto (Santuraki Kontagora), His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Marafa, the Executive Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi U. Ganduje OFR, Her Excellency, the wife of the Governor of Niger State, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Abubakar Sani Bello, the Hon Commissioner for Health, Niger State,

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Minister Tasks Pharmacists On Better Service Delivery

The minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole has called Nigerian pharmacists to accept their roles in the delivery of health care to patients and also work assiduous in harmony with other health care team to put the health care of patients above any form of tussle for seniority in the sector.

Adewole who was speaking during the Annual Scientific Week 2016 an the Ten Million Naira Bus Launch of the Association of Hospital an Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria(AHAPN) Abuja Branch, however commended the pharmacists association for being proactive in their approach to resolving issues in the health sector amicable.

He added that the theme of the event, “Pharmacist-Patient Relationship: Towards better pharmaceutical service delivery, was in line with the federal government agenda to reach out to 100 million live in the community level by improving their socio- economic development and human capital formation in the grass root level.

He added that pharmacists have a great and pivotal role to play in achieving giant strides as regards to the federal government initiative in making health care more accessible to the patients.

Also speaking during his welcome address, the AHAPN chairman, Abuja Branch, Pharm. Peter Enemarie, that the scientific week was aimed at bringing together the members so that they would be abl to exchange ideas and knowledge that will aid towards a better relationship between pharmacists and their patients.

He added that his dream after inception was to end the pressure and pains the association goes through while attending conference by getting a bus which he added that will help the group a great deal. Earlier during their outreach to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in New Kuchingoro, FCT, Enemarie stated that the association has decided to reach out to the IDPs in order to ease their pains as they continue to wait for the time they will be able to return to their home town.

Receiving the gifts, the camp secretary and health cordinator, Enoch Yohanna commended the group for their generosity and promised to make sure that the food stuff were distributed accordingly while the drugs are administered freely to patients in the camp. The pharmacist association donated drugs, food stuffs and clothings to the IDPs and also spoke to them on ways to prevent malaria.

Source:Leadership Online

PEFON Inducts PSN President, Embassy Boss, Juli Pharmacy Manager

The President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. Ahmed Yakasi and two other pharmacists have been inducted into the fellowship of Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON).

The induction ceremony of the President and that of Embassy Boss and Juli Pharmacy Manager took place at the LCCI, Alausa, Ikeja and Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja respectively.

Addressing the members, Aare Ganiyu Koledoye, vice chairman of the foundation explained that PEFON is a professional foundation aimed at encouraging and empowering youths in the country.

“To be a member of the foundation, you must have made an impact in one’s area of influence. Looking at the dignitaries on the high table, you will agree with me they are people who have excelled in their chosen field.


19th NAIP Annual National Conference Communique


HELD ON 19TH – 20TH APRIL, 2016




The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigerian, NAIP, is a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, and the Professional body of all Pharmacists in the Industrial Sector in Nigeria having over 300 Companies as Corporate members.

NAIP’s uniqueness derives from its technical functions and diverse membership cutting across the Manufacturing, Marketing, Distribution, Consulting and Publishing segments of the Industry.

As an individual group within the Nigerian Pharma sector, we drive with vigor and vibrance excellence and high ethical standards across the Pharma industrial sector towards the

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