Former national president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mr Olumide Akintayo has cautioned that Nigeria’s existing three million unregistered pharmaceutical premises will increase with the digitalisation of pharmacy services if Nigeria’s weak regulatory framework persists.
Akintayo, who spoke on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the 2019 Pharmacy Week of the PSN, Oyo State branch, tagged ‘Pharmacy Practice Beyond 2029: The Reality of Digitalisation’, said it is only by embracing an enabling regulatory framework that the digitalisation of pharmacy practice can be impactful and ensure safe medicines.
According to Akintayo, “Pharmacy is a highly regulated profession. Unfortunately for us in Nigeria, poor regulatory controls have led to a situation whereby we contend with over three million unregistered pharmaceutical premises in the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
“Fundamentally, all we are saying simply is that you can’t run away from digitalisation. But the note of caution here is that you need to develop a solid regulatory framework in the implementation plan for internet pharmacy, a chain pharmacy project and all of that, or anything connected with that.
“We have laws that will still make it possible for us to crack down on physical structures that are unregistered. But how are we going to deal in terms of sanctions and all of that with internet pharmacy? How are we going to handle internet pharmacy because the operators will be completely faceless? There will be nobody to hold responsible.”
Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, represented by Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello vowed that his administration would overhaul the structure of health system in the state in order to meet the health needs of people.
He said: “Health has been identified as a cardinal area of utmost importance in human development in the state. Thus, as a responsive government, we have taken pre-emptive steps to overhaul the structure of the health system with the requisite intent of meeting the health needs of our people.
“In the last three months of this administration, the state government has put back the Ring Road State Hospital to its original design with the provision of state-of-the-art medical equipment. The aim of the government is to make the hospital to compete well with the best in the world and medical tourism.
“I need to state that effort is in top gear to domesticate drug distribute strategy for the smooth take-off of New National Drug Distribution Guidelines in the state.”
Former Regional Manager (West) with the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Mr Bolaji Adisa and the keynote speaker also said: “The truth is that digitalisation is real, it is a reality that has come to stay.
“With digitalisation, your (pharmacists) patients become more empowered, you yourself will be able to reach more of your customers with the right things. You don’t need to waste efforts to see them all the time because with digitalisation, you can communicate without seeing each other,” Mr Adisa said.