Members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Oyo State branch, have warned that unless the Federal Government lowers the exchange rate for the importation of drugs into the country, their costs may go beyond the purchasing power of common Nigerians who are in need of the drugs.
Chairman of the association, Adeyinka Isola, who spoke in Ibadan during the celebration of this year’s edition of the Pharmacists’ Week, said the association at the national level had met with the FG over the high cost of drugs, adding that it had yet to receive a response in the regard.
As part of the celebration, Isola said that drugs would be donated to orphanage homes in Ibadan. He said, “The safety of lives must come first in any government policy. When we cannot take good care of the sick, there is a problem. We are meeting with the government over the issue of exchange rate and we are hopeful that a concession will be granted to us so that those who import these drugs will be able to bring them into the country at reduced costs.
“We plead with the FG to lower the exchange rate for these importers in order to provide succour for those who are sick, especially in this time of recession. Many of these drugs are out of stock already and importers are finding it difficult to bring them to Nigeria. The healthcare of our teeming populace is very important.”
Isola also raised the alarm over a new trend in the state that has made drug stores the targets of armed robbers.
On Saturday, for instance, a pharmacist was shot by suspected robbers at his store in the Challenge area of Ibadan, injuring him and leaving with an unspecified amount of money and several prescription drugs. The attack was one of the several ones on drug stores in the city in the past two months.
Isola warned that many of the drugs carted away during these attacks could be injurious to users.
He said, “There have been robbery attacks on pharmaceutical companies and stores in the state. We are part of the society and we are not immune to the situation that the country is facing. Those who are doing this are simply undoing themselves because they are stealing drugs that have been purchased for certain purposes, which they may not know.
“Drugs are not articles of trade but professional entities. Robbery attacks on drug stores are new, which show how serious the situations are in the country. Effort is being made by the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, Oyo State branch, to deal with the situation. But, as an association, we call on the police to help to check this menace by protecting our industry and professionals in it. It is unfortunate that special drugs that could hurt users, who don’t have their prescription, are being stolen.”