Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Kwara State chapter, has expressed its readiness to partner with the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) towards tackling the menace of fake and substandard drugs in the state.
The Society said though it is not within its jurisdiction to enforce relevant provisions of the law on counterfeit drugs production and impose sanctions on culprits, it would not rest on its oars until the state is rid of illicit drugs.
The newly elected state Chairman of PSN, Pharmacist Mohammed Baba Abdulmalik, disclosed this in an interview with Journalists on the sideline of his electoral victory in Ilorin, the state capital.
Abdulmalik was declared the new state Chairman of PSN after garnering 102 votes against his opponent, Pharmacist Joseph Oladele Ole, who polled 82 votes at the keenly contested election.
“We have a regulatory body, which is National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). It is working on that. It is within its jurisdiction to enforce law on fake drugs and not in our jurisdiction.
“But we have our members as staff of NAFDAC, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Federal Ministry of Health. So, routinely, they go out on enforcement and to check the premises of these industries for people that will want to sell fake drugs or unregistered products.
“Of course, there is a fine from NAFDAC if they find you with unregistered drugs or fake drugs. But at the level of our association, there is a jurisdiction on what we can do on that. We will support these agencies and every other body that will want to fight fake drugs”, Abdulmalik said.
Bemoaning the rate of drug abuse in the society, the PSN Chairman, who is the Head of Pharmacy Department in the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Budo-Egba, Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State, absolved his members of involvement in unregistered drugs business.
Abdulmalik said: “There is no reasonable registered pharmacist that will sell illicit drug to anybody. They (abusers) might get these hard drugs from patent medicine, vendors or any of the quacks and those hawking on the streets.
“So, a registered pharmacist that knows the effect of drugs and poison will not sell illicit drugs to patient or potential user.”
The PSN Chairman said his administration would pursue revenue generation drive vigorously with establishment of bottled water firm, transport business and agriculture, adding that this would ensure that the society is self sustaining.
“Over the years, it has been very difficult for us raising revenue, because we always depend on donations from philanthropists, donors and well-wishers or people that just want to donate to the association. But on my own part, I have thought of it that what would I do to ensure that we are self-reliant and we can always generate funds for ourselves for any of the capital projects we might want to embark upon.
“If you get to our Secretariat, you will notice that we have a borehole, which is about 200 metres deep. We have a very big office space, which I have told my people that we are going to make a mini-bottled water factory there in the Secretariat. You know if you see the name of pharmacists on any bottled water, you will always feel like it could be trusted. You will know that such water is healthy for drinking. This is part of what we want to do.
“Part of generating revenue is that we are going to work with any of the transport companies in Ilorin here. We can buy a vehicle, give to them in good condition while you sign an agreement with them and they will definitely give us returns at the end of the month. This will be another source of income.
“We have some other projects that the past administration has been working on like a farmland. We have started planting on it. In my own little way, by the time we get to harvest time, because we have planted casava and grains like maize and some other cash crops. Definitely, by the time we start harvesting, of course, we will make more money from this and it would make the association bigger,” Abdulmalik said.