Open drug market threatens pharma sector – Says expert
Former Registrar of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, Elijah Muhammed on Thursday, declared that Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector faces a severe threat from an unregulated open drug market.
Muhammed revealed this at the 2023 International Conference and Investiture organised by the Courier and Logistics Management Institute in Lagos.
The sector is estimated to hit $5.3bn by the year 2024, according to Goldstein Market Intelligence analyst forecast.
He expressed deep concern, stating, “I don’t know what the next generation will look like if we don’t address the issue of an open drug market where people access drugs from everywhere.”
Emphasising the critical role of funding for the Pharmacy Council as a regulatory body, Muhammed asserted, “Neglecting to fund the Council would be counterproductive, with far-reaching consequences for drug safety and public health.”
In a recent statement, Muhammed underscored the government’s ongoing efforts to ensure proper drug distribution while cautioning against potential risks if individuals are allowed to regulate themselves in the open drug market.
He warned, “This could lead to significant problems for the entire country, jeopardising the strides made in securing a safe and regulated pharmaceutical environment.”
Urging the government to adopt an objective and pragmatic approach, Muhammed stressed the paramount need to prioritise saving lives from drug abuse.
“We must act decisively to address this issue. Lives are at stake, and an adequately funded Pharmacy Council is instrumental in achieving effective drug regulation,” he emphasised.
Advocating for the continued jurisdiction of the Pharmacy Council under the Federal Government, Muhammed explained, “Centralised authority is essential for effectively controlling players in the open drug market, especially those who may resist regulation.
“It ensures a coordinated and robust regulatory framework. Everybody now takes drugs without proper knowledge, and no prescription.”
Muhammed concluded by stating, “Swift action is essential to ensure the sustained growth of the sector, protect public health, and mitigate the adverse effects of drug abuse resulting from unregulated drug markets.”
He called on the Courier and Logistics Management Institute, an academic and professional institute, and other bodies in the logistics sector to be involved in tackling this menace.