The Association of Community Pharmacists, Lagos State Chapter has criticised the Federal government on its decision to ban Codeine Containing Cough Syrup. The chairman ACPN Lagos; Pharm Obideyi Olabanji made this known during a press conference at the state secretariat.
According to him, “the decision to ban codeine containing syrup – taken by the Federal government as a way to curtail abuse of these drugs is certainly not right.” He went on to add that, it is tantamount to cutting branches of a tree while hoping to eliminate the tree.
He stressed that the ban will not achieve much as it will only result in pushing up the acquisition cost of these products since the old available stock will be secretly sold by charlatans. He also stated that the outright ban of these products have denied some citizens of this country access to medications that are needed to cater for their health as not everyone that uses this drug abuse it.
Also speaking at the conference was Pharm. (Alh) Aminu Abdulsalam, who also reiterated the fact that the Federal Government should not have just banned the product suddenly as every ban should follow a process or procedure. According to him, since it takes almost one year to get a license for manufacturing these drugs or importing them, it should also take a little time to effect a ban on the products.
He stated that he would have expected the Federal Minister of Health to place a suspension first on importation and production of these products first. Then, call for an audit of these drugs so that they can be sure of what is still in circulation. He explained that some people would have had these products coming into the country, and that these people as well as those that already have these products in stock would have suffered economic loss.
The ACPN State Chairman further stated that in curbing the issue of codeine cough syrup abuse, the Federal Government should enforce the dismantling of all open drug markets nationwide. He called on the Federal Government to finally be decisive about implementing the Drug Distribution Policy rather than dragging their feet on it.
Pharm. Obideyi also stressed the need for the Boards of Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) to be constituted. He explained that this would pave the way for the discipline of any erring member of the pharmacy profession – violating laws guiding the distribution and dispensing of these products.
He stressed that although ACPN Lagos did not approve of the ban on codeine containing cough syrup, they however, are obedient to the edicts of the Federal Ministry of Health, and have advised their members to take all codeine containing cough syrups off their shelves in their various pharmacies.