ACPN writes Buhari to assent pending Pharmacy Council Bill

THE Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has written President Muhammadu Buhari on the uncertainty surrounding the Pharmacy Council ot Nigeria (PCN) Bill 2017; and the need for the President to quickly sign the bill before the end of his first term in office.

The Association also raised alarm over the whereabouts of the bill, stating that the bill, which needed urgent assent of President Buhari has been missing in transmission between the Presidency and the National Assembly.

In a letter dated May 2, 2019 and addressed to the President, the ACPN, therefore called on him to investigate those behind the movement of the bill in-between the Presidency and the National Assembly, with a view to unravel the misery surrounding the missing bill.

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The letter, titled: “An open  letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to give assent to the pending Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (ACPN) Bill 2017,” was signed by the National Chairman of ACPN, Pharmacist Samuel Adekola.

The ACPN said it has continued to evaluate recent public heaith concerns with regards to the increasing challenges of drug abuse and misuse in Nigeria; warning that this development would, obviously further complicates the perennial woes of take as well as falsified drugs in the country.

The association stated that the development should bother all promoters of Good Pharmacy Practice in Nigeria, adding, “we as part of a globat community will continue to collaborate and strategize along the lines of global best practices particularly with alliance partners including international Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), World Health Organization (WHO), African Pharmaceutical Forum (APF) and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) to clamor for standards and ideals which will ultimately boost consumerism as well as professionalism in Nigeria. For emphasis, this bill shouid be assented to for many reasons.”

Giving the reasons why it shoukd be assented to immediately, the association said the  Pharmacy Council ot Nigeria (PCN) Bill 2017 is very consistent with similar laws in the Commonweatth League of Nations, where regulatory laws and statutes have become very sacred in keeping pace with the norms and ethos of public health.

Besides, it pointed out that one of the philosophies of the National Drug Policy 2005 is to guarantee that Nigerians have access to safe, efficacious and affordable medicines, a cardinal responsibility of every government to its citizenry.

It stated further that it should be assented to because the PCN Bill 2017 clearly prohibits sale of drugs in unauthorised places, while it compels pharmacist to show more responsibility in their professional practice.

The Association also explained that the current Pharmacy Law are laced with very substantial antiquity because the first Pharmacy Ordinance was enacted in 1887; while the PCN Bill has removed all ambiguities with regards to offences and relevant commensurate sanctions applicable to all payers.

Also, in a press cobference addressed in Abuja, thd President ACPN, said the pharmacy bill with the President has disappeared. He said: “The pharmacy bill has been stolen. We have been looking for it. This bill was passed into law  by the National Assembly (both house of representatives and senate )   about 15 months ago,  and was sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent .

“The president sent it to the Ministry of Health for corrections. Minor  corrections were made and the Minister of Health , Prof Isaac Adewole signed it about six months ago and forwarded it back to the Presidency. The Presidency then returned it to the National Assembly to correct and resend . But  it was during the course of the movement from the office of the Chief of Staff to the President and the National Assembly that the bill disappeared.”

He added: “The bill addresses the gaps in the Extant Act and has brought under the regulation of PCN all bodies and participants involved in open drugs markets; and  to arrest and unregulated the current trend whereby drugs are made available through illegal outlets.

“The bill if signed will strengthen the regulatory role of the pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), check illegal practice and illegal outlet. It will also give PCN more power to  regulate patent medicine dealers and check illegal ones among them.”