‘More Nigerians getting maimed by medicines’

A pharmacist, Mr Taofik Odukoya, has expressed concern over increasing cases of Nigerians developing ill health or getting maimed from taking medicines, linking this to dearth of community pharmacy shops and drug information.

Odukoya, the Chief Executive Officer, Vanguard Pharmacy Limited, said this during the commissioning of the organisation’s new pharmacy outlet in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The pharmacist stated that the population of retail pharmacists to population of Nigerians was far below the international standard, adding that this had deprived Nigerians of optimum pharmacy care.

Odukoya, who declared that the objective of Vanguard Pharmacy Limited was to bridge this gap and as such the organisation’s plan to have a chain of 20 branches by 2018, declared that retail pharmacists were first port of call for medicines, adding that when inappropriately used, it could turn out as poisons.

“Incidence of drug-drug interaction or drug-food interactions will continue to increase until Nigerians know that they are not supposed to just pick up their medications at the pharmacy shop, but also demand to get advice on them.

“With a lot of herbal medicines and food supplements coming on board, as well as lot of synthetic medications, there are bound to be interactions, and the effect of these interactions can range from mild to severe, including death,” he said.

He added that people who take combinations of medicines, what is termed poly pharmacy, also require having adequate and appropriate information on the medicines to ensure their efficacy and prevent any untoward effect of the medications.

Odukoya urged Nigerians to only buy their medicines from registered pharmacy shops that have a pharmacist in attendance, to ensure they could also receive information on these medicines.

He declared, “when you go to a pharmacy shop that has no pharmacist to attend to your medicine needs, it is not different from patronising a patent medicine store.”

According to him, “patient’s information is part of make -up to sell medicines. This is why clients are not buying at manufacturer’s cost. It is not a crime to buy medicines; it is about your health. That is why, at  this company, people’s health is our passion.”

The community pharmacist also stated that individuals should not use cost as the determinant for where they purchase their medications, saying cost is a relative thing and that when a substandard medicines is bought, it further increases spending on healthcare.