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By: Ade Adeleke
Pharmacists across the country have staged a peaceful protest to demand the signing into law of the 2017 Pharmacy Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In Ondo state, the protest staged under the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), led to the locking up of pharmaceutical shops in Akure
The protesting pharmacists who carried different placards with various inscriptions such as: ”To Stop Chaotic Drug Distribution, Sign Pharmacy Bill Now Mr President’’ and “Drug Abuse and Misuse Kills, Sign Pharmacy Bill to Stop this, “Dear Buhari, to Fight and Eradicate Fake Drugs, Sign Pharmacy Bill Now ” and “For Better Use of Drugs, for Improved Quality of Life, Sign Pharmacy Bill Mr President.’’
Speaking on the State Secretary of ACPN, Olufemi Obateru who led the protest in Akure, said that the association’s members across the country had agreed on the action to highlight their grievances.
“We believe that as we are coming together, it will carry weight and make Mr President to hear us.
“It is not an individual thing but collective action which is for the benefit of the entire country.
“We have been on this since 2017 that the bill had been passed by the National Assembly and we are again appealing to Mr President to listen to us,” he said.
According to Obateru, the law will take care of the chaotic drug distribution channel being experienced in the country.
He explained that drugs would no longer get into the wrong hands.
“It is sad that in Nigeria, there is open market selling of drugs to people. Those that are engaged are not certified and do not know anything about drugs and we want it to stop,” he stated.
The secretary said that if the bill was not signed into law, the national body of the association would decide on the next step to take.
Also, two female pharmacist, Mrs Oluwemimo Akande and Oluwadamilola Olarenwaju cautioned that drugs were not articles of commerce, hence the need for signing the bill into law to checkmate fake drugs circulation and hard drug.
Akande noted that the association was not happy with the situation where anybody could handle drugs in the country.
According to her, codeine is still being circulated in the country inspite of its ban.
She added that if the bill was assented to, the drug distribution chain would be regularised and the authorities would be in good position to perform.
“We are, therefore, appealing to Mr President to please assent to the bill. We are not happy. Our youths are dying of drug abuse and drug misuse,” she said.