Dr. John Ayorinde is the immediate past Chairman of the National Association of Pharmacists in the Academia (NAPA). He is presently a Senior Faculty member in Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan. In this interview with GABRIEL IFINNWA, he examines the limitations in the practice of pharmacy in Nigeria, the presence of fake drugs in the Nigerian market amongst other issues. Excerpts:
What is your thought on those advocating for a ban on imported pharmaceutical products to encourage patronage of made-in-Nigeria products especially drugs?
There are two sides to it: One, it will encourage and boost local production of pharmaceuticals which in turn have a positive impact on the nation’s economy. However, a total ban on imported pharmaceutical products will block users of medicines from benefiting from products of research from technologically more advanced countries. I will rather advise that first, we strengthen our efforts on production of generics, engage our industries in compulsory research and development scheme through effective collaboration with the academia.
The abuse of drugs, codeine cough syrup among the youth has become a disturbing trend in Nigeria. How can this menace be curbed?
Parents should pay good attention to their children, do not have a child if you cannot train one. There ought to be public enlightenment by pharmacists on drug abuse in the schools, churches, mosques, and communities. Also, we should positively engage our youths in productive schemes.
Government should create jobs and political opportunities for our youth, and an effective drug distribution chain should be ensured in the country. Controlled drugs should not be allowed to get into the hands of non-professionals. Pharmacists will not sell codeine products to youngsters (and even anybody) without a genuine prescription. So, these products should “only” be handled by Pharmacists.
What is your advice to patients who patronise unregistered drug stores?
It is a very great risk for anybody to commit his/ her health into the hands of unqualified individuals; the consequences are always too bad. Parents should patronise only registered drug stores. However, Setting up registered PPMV in the rural areas should be encouraged by PCN.
How would you access drug regulation in the country?
The regulatory agencies (NAFDAC, PCN) are doing great jobs in this aspect. NDLEA will also perform better if the structure is redesigned by law to include Pharmacists being the DG.
How do you see the future of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria?
The Pharmaceutical industry has a good future if the needful is done. The industry needs to engage R&D, effective collaboration with the academia is also very important.
What qualities do you hope to see in the next PSN President?
I hope to see a President who will maintain (at least) the standards of Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai. If the standards set by Pharm Yakasai is maintained or improved upon in the next tenure, the profession will immensely benefit from that. I hope to see a President who will have same interest in the academia and support our fights as other technical groups. I hope to see a President who can stand up and challenge the policies that challenge the Pharmacy profession.
Tell us about your background?
I graduated as a Pharmacist in the year 1996 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and had my internship training at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, after which I was posted to Oyo State for the NYSC scheme. My place of Primary Assignment during the NYSC scheme was Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomoso. I had my Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan. I started my university teaching and research career at the Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, and I am presently a Senior Faculty member in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan. I served as the National Chairman of Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (2014 – 2017) and I am presently the Immediate past Chairman (IPC) of the Association.