Pharmacy practice in Nigeria has received updated guidelines and laws released by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, in accordance with the upgraded National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). The association, in a letter directed to the Director-General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Prof. M.N Sambo with signatures of the National Chairman of the ACPN, Adewale Oladigbolu and the National Secretary, Pharm. Ezeh Ambrose, highlighted the necessity for an update of the NHIA concerning some issues in the practice of pharmacy and its impacts on the activities.
Part of the letter which embodied the guidelines read “Byf Government notice No. 108 after President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR signed a new Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Act 2022 (PCN 2022), the Federal Government officially announce through Gazette No. 157 on August 30, 2022, the coming into the life of a new Act of Parliament (PCN Act 2022) which has been structured to revolutionize pharmacy practice in Nigeria.” The letter stated that the guidelines would be a template upon which all Nigerian pharmacists would work.
Nigerian health system would be revived by enforcement of the rules.
The ACPN asserted that the updated terms and conditions would be duly adhered to in compliance with every relevant Act of Parliament in existing Pharmacy, Drug and Health statutes. Enforcing this responsibility is required to revive the country’s declining health system. The unity of the association has made the association rely on the director general and the NHIA staff for fulfillment of the guidelines for the public interest of the Nigerian healthcare consumers. One of the laws included the need to have an in-house pharmacist in a pharmacy to answer to patrons.
There would be inspection and registration of any building or space used for dispensing, compounding, storage, retailing, manufacturing, exportation, selling, distribution, stocking, wholesale and importation of drugs and poisons, scientific offices or any form of pharmaceutical operation, according to the provisions of the Act. Without registration as a pharmacist under the Act, no one is permitted to operate a retail or community pharmacy practice. If a Satellite Pharmacy has an affiliation to a registered pharmaceutical premise for regulation and control and is owned by licensed pharmacists who have at least 10years post-registration experience, it may receive the Council’s approval.
This new Act would ensure Good Pharmacy Practice.
A Superintendent Pharmacist would supervise all pharmaceutical premises. Any premise operating without a Superintendent Pharmacist for 30 days would lose its premise’s license at the end of those 30 days. Every pharmacy, including the ones in private and public hospitals shall be over seen by a Superintendent Pharmacist. All pharmacies in public and private hospitals and clinics shall be inspected, registered and issued annual licenses by the Council. Any Nigerian location where drugs are stored and sold must be under the registration of a Superintendent Pharmacist for inspection and licensure by the PCN.
According to the updated provisions of the law, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) is responsible for ensuring that every community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy in primary and secondary and tertiary facilities, either in public or private sectors, private insurance or federal level must be under registration by a Superintended Pharmacist to be inspected, registered and licensed by the PCN. The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) asserted the necessity to enforce this new Act so as to ensure Good Pharmacy Practice.
PCN Act 2022 prohibits sale of drugs by unduly licensed pharmacists.
The NHIA has an obligation backed by the law to request for and give evidence that every facility under its approval for health insurance in either the public or private sector benefit from fees for services as in the legal payment mechanism which serves as compensation for consumption in the health insurance dynamics in compliance with the provisions cited (1-9) of the PCN Act 2022. Therefore, the association appealed for the cooperation and support of the NHIA, noting that the PCN Act 2022 disagrees and prohibits the dispensing of drugs by unregistered persons and unduly licensed pharmacists in Nigeria.