The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) is worried over the non-commencement of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, which is aimed at ridding the sector of unauthorised open drug market. It was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Health.
The guidelines were to take effect last June but the take-off date was shifted to July 1, this year.
The PSN is concerned that nothing has been done towards facilitating the initiative since last year. “Another postponement of the take-off date will compel stakeholders to treat the National Drug Distribution Guidelines with contempt and levity,” it said.
Its President, Olumide Akintayo, in a statement, said: “PSN is worried in the light of realities that intense politicking appears to continue to take its toll on governance at all levels from the federal and state governments to local government areas”.
The statement said further: “The original take-off date and proposed sealing of all unauthorised open drug markets was fixed for June 30, last year, a date which was postponed till July 1, this year a few days to official commencement in 2014.
“From all indications not much has happened since last year when the take-off dates were adjusted except the recent dialogue between stakeholders and International Finance Corporation in last month. Consequent upon this, PSN strongly suggests that the Steering Committee of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines is energised to immediately begin to work on realisable goals and targets of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines in 2015 as another postponement of the take-off date compels relevant stakeholders to treat the strategic National Drug Distribution Guidelines with contempt and levity.”
The PSN, according to the statement, enjoined the Ministry of Health to reach out to operators in open markets to enable them strategise on how to regularise their business in tandem with existing laws and the National Drug Distribution Guidelines.
The society also expressed worry over the 26-man new Technical Review Committee (TRC) for the National Health Act (NH Act 2014) allegedly inaugurated by the Minister.
The member of that committee, according to the society, is unknown to a sizeable number of key stakeholders. “More importantly is that from all indications, representation of the Technical Review Committee has not been extended to professional associations and trade unions in the Health Sector,” it said.
Akintayo said the committee, which is said to be “cautiously” selected to guarantee representation of the key institutions, has directive for the implementation of the National Health Act.
“Naturally, PSN accepts the principle of setting up a Technical Committee, which is also within the powers of the Minister. But from all indications, representation of the Technical Review Committee has not been extended to professional associations and trade unions in the Health Sector. I, therefore, find it necessary to draw your attention to this vital omission,” the statement said.