47 per cent of health experts commit medication errors –Expert

An associate Professor of Pharmacology, Dr Ibrahim Oreagba, has decried the high prevalence of medication errors by Nigerian health professionals, indicating that 47 per cent self reported committing mistakes in prescribing, dispensing and administering medications.

Oreagba, a lecturer at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, spoke at the opening of the 2016 pharmacy week of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Oyo State Chapter, with the theme “Advancing Pharmacy Practice through Clinical Orientation in Work-place.”

The don, who remarked that medication errors could lead to adverse drug reactions, stated that many of the medications errors are potentially harmful.

The pharmacist, who quoted the national survey on medication errors among health professionals also indicating knowledge gaps and practice deficiencies among health workers, stated that the onus lay with pharmacists to educate the public on appropriate use of medicines.

Oreagba identified drug misuse and adverse drug reactions as public health challenges, saying that in a study far back in 2011, medication use-related problems were identified from 58.6 per cent of patients among medical outpatients in a tertiary care setting in south-western Nigeria.

He declared that the chances of a medication use-related problem appeared strongly related to the number of medicines prescribed, adding that even self medication of commonly used medications can cause adverse drug reaction.

Oreagba declared: “Medicines are a very complex technology, not only complex in a pharmacological way, but also in application. In the USA, approximately three to five per cent of all hospital admissions are caused by a drug-related problem.

“Over 218,000 people have supposedly died due to drug-related problems in the USA in a year. The costs of these drug misadventures were estimated to be 170 billion US dollars.”

The expert, therefore, reminded pharmacists that the scope of pharmacy practice included more traditional roles such as compounding and dispensing medications.

According to him, “it also includes more modern services related to health care, including clinical services, reviewing medications for safety and efficacy, and providing drug information.”

“Advancing pharmacy practice is crucial in ensuring cost-effective therapies which ultimately improve or maintain patient quality of life.

“Pharmacists from all technical groups must play the leadership role in the much needed transformation of pharmacy education and practice in Nigeria. They must join hands with other members of the health team with the sole purpose of optimizing patient care.”

Oyo State Commissioner of health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan remarked that pharmacists are indispensable role in the medical team and assured of Oyo State government’s resolve on stemming fake drugs and drug fakers.

The commissioner, however, asked that pharmacists practicing in the state also regulate themselves, saying government would not allow people not certified opening pharmacy shops.