• Laments no national drug prescription policy in Nigeria


By Abavo Kingsley, Benin



Late Matthew Odion

All drugs even Paracetamol are poison  Pharm. (Dr.) Felix Ndiukwu has warned.

The warning was necessary to avoid drug abuse and misuse which could even lead to addiction with its accompanying health complications. Especially when national drug prescription policy does not exist in Nigeria, he pointed out.

Pharm. Ndiukwu is Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, Edo State Chapter.

He delivered the lecture titled: ‘Ban on the use of codeine and other harmful substances implication on societal health’ at the first Alli Memorial lecture in Benin on Thursday.

Dr. Ndiukwu advised that to ensure the right drug has been prescribed and for correct administration, the Pharmacist must be consulted always.

“But the problem here is the absence of a standard prescription policy ensuring that necessary information like the prescribers name, and contacts, age, weight e.t.c are on the prescription to enable the pharmacist relate with the doctor when any drug therapy problem is discovered.”

Dr. Ndiukwu painted a very frightening picture of drug abuse and addiction in Nigeria.

Quoting report of the National Epidemiological Network on Drug use, he said 1,044 patients were admitted in 2015 for treatment in the country at 11 selected centres.

The patients were hooked on Tramadol but after 2015, more cases of codeine addiction were observed.

“The case deteriorated rapidly as over three million bottles were consumed daily in the north alone.”

Hence the Federal Government on May 1, 2018 banned the importation, manufacture and sale of codeine containing cough syrups after a documentary aired by a public broadcaster; the BBC on April 30, 2018.

However, the ban has its positives as negatives Dr. Ndiukwu pointed out.

He consequently recommended: active audit of all controlled drugs; eradication of open markets across the country; political will to implement measures that will restrict access to medications to those who truly need it.

Especially the National Drug Distribution Guidelines that have been in the pipeline for about five years now.

Other recommendations include: Pharmacists should be involved at all levels of drug production and distribution to the point of handing over to the final patient/consumer.

Also, National prescription policy, and empowerment of regulatory bodies like the PSN, NAFDAC, Task Force, and NDLEA.

Pharm. Ndiukwu earlier explained that “Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that affect the brain functioning, causing changes in behaviour, perception, mood and consciousness.”

The inaugural lecture was in commemoration of Odion Alli, who passed on one year ago.

Alli was the publisher of ‘Merit’ a foremost Benin based community news tabloid.

The event which was used to revive the annual ‘Merit  Awards’ series was organized by the Merit Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Edo State Chapter.