Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) said that it registered 21,892 pharmacists in 2016.
The Registrar of PCN, Mr. Elijah Mohammed, who disclosed this at a stakeholders sensitisation and consultative forum organised by the council, noted that only 12,740 out of the numbers were licensed to practice. He however described this as grossly inadequate considering the nationâ€™s population.
The registrar said the forum was aimed at rubbing minds with stakeholders on how to improve service delivery in the pharmaceutical sector of the country in order to ensure improved healthcare delivery to the masses.
He identified the gap between the number of registered and licensed pharmacists on failure of the professionals to obtain or renew their practicing licenses.
The registrar noted that a lot of these defaulters were found in academics, hospital administration, telecommunication industries and NGOs, among others, adding that those in these categories are off the track.
He expressed displeasure on the responses given by some of the unlicensed pharmacists when accosted, â€œsome of them always respond by saying it is meaningless for me to obtain license since I am not practicing.â€™â€™
Giving the statistical distribution of pharmacists in the pharmaceutical sector, Mohammed further decried that 190 out of the 774 local government areas in the country have only one registered community pharmacist each while 584 have none.
According to him, the only way to breach this gap was to ensure improved quality service delivery by the community pharmacists and the Patents and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs).
Mohammed emphasised that it was envisioned to create an enabling and regulatory environment for the provision of quality pharmaceutical services for sustainable healthcare delivery.
The registrar assured that the council is poised to reposition community pharmacists to improve quality of healthcare delivery in the country by ensuring efficient pharmacy practices in all the nooks and crannies of the society.
â€œCommunity pharmacies and the PPMVs shops are the very first point of call by majority of Nigerians seeking healthcare services.
â€œPPMVs are the householdsâ€™ medicine dealers that deal on unethical drugs, they are the first point of call.Majority of them do not have the health DNA in them, their main aim of coming into the field is to earn money rather than the well-being of patients.
â€œWe make them realise that it is because somebody is sick that they are in the business and their essence should be to lessen the burden of the sick.We infused in them that by indulging in the sales of fake and substandard drugs they are killing their clients which is disadvantageous to their business,” he said.