The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has raised the alarm over the high demand for regulated drugs,like cough syrups containing Codeine and Tramadol.
The Association also condemn what it described as the increasing misuse and abuse of drugs by Nigerians,who resort to self-medication.Edo State Chairman of ACPN,Felix Ndiukwu,who disclosed this during a press conference to mark Edo Pharmacy Week in Benin,Wednesday,warned that the current trend poses serious health hazards as it could lead to addiction.
He said: “ACPN Edo has observed an unfortunate and unprecedented increase in the abuse of drugs especially tramadol, codeine-containing cough syrups, dexacortin and triple action creams, amongst others.
“On a daily basis,community pharmacists engage in counselling and education of Nigerians,who come asking for these medications,and offer advice on alternatives to avoid their numerous deleterious effects.
“Many listen and are the better for it (but) others insist on getting them from other sources which are shady,unregistered and unprofessional outlets manned by quacks.
“The result is sustained addiction to tramadol,codeine,etc,and the gradual but steady erosion of the skins of babies whose mothers replace or mix baby lotions with triple action creams causing reddening of the skin and other dermatological disorders after a transient ‘fair and shiny’ skin phase.”
Ndiukwu also decried the accumulation of seized and expired drugs at the state offices of of the National Agency for Drug Administration and Control and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency due to the delay in the destruction of the products.
According to him, “For over five years now,community pharmacists in Edo State have not been able to convey expired drugs removed from their shelves to NAFDAC for destruction.The Benin office cited lack of space,issues with Edo State Ministry of Environment and other bureaucratic issues.
“We approached NDLEA,Edo command, and they pointed to an embargo placed on their destruction of items by the Senate. As a matter of fact,we were conducted round their facility where every available space had been taken up by seized drugs.”
He also called for a review of the Mobile Authentication System used for the identification of fake drugs to include a provision for pharmacists to authenticate cartons or multiple packs of drugs before purchase to avoid financial loss and injury to the profession.