Only 23 Varsities Have Approval To Run Degree, Ph.D In Pharmacy, Says Mora

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The Chairman of Governing Council of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, PCN, Prof. Ahmed Mora, has said only 23 out of the 219 universities in the country have the approval to run the Pharmacy programme at both the Degree and PhD levels.

This was as he explained that the new PCN Establishment Act (2022), recently assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, targeted strict compliance with international best practices in the pharmaceutical sector.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, on the gazetting of the New PCN Act and PCN’s enforcement activities nationwide, Prof. Mora, however, said more institutions had applied for approval of the pharmacy programme.

He explained that both NAFDAC and PCN were required to undertake separate inspections of drug manufacturing facilities to ensure strict compliance with standards in Nigeria

 

According to him, before an educational institution is granted accreditation, the two organisations must inspect and evaluate their facilities.

The institutions offering training of pharmacy profession have been on the increase as the country now has about 219 universities teaching the course.

“Out of this number, we are happy to say that today we have 23 universities with approved Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree and Doctor of Pharmacy Degree programmes and more are in the pipeline, awaiting accreditation and approval”, he said.

He said the new PCN Act granted stiffer penalties for defaulters, as the intention is not punitive but to act as a corrective measure that will sanitise the profession.

The PCN chairman explained that “The Council is a regulatory agency.”

“We are not a profit-making organisation and we are corrective, not punitive.

“In every organisation, we have deviants and that is why we have investigative panels and disciplinary tribunals to ensure that those deviants are brought to book”.

“The fines are meant to act as a deterrent to people not to fall short of the minimum standard expected from them. We are dealing with drugs and this is because the issue is about life and death and a manufacturer of the wrong medication can kill hundreds of people at once. We have zero tolerance when it comes to the quality of drugs in the market,” he said.

Speaking also, the Registrar of PCN, Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed said part of the changes introduced in the new PCN Act was the upward review of fines for offenders, which was increased from N250,000 to N2 million.

Ahmed while responding to questions on the performance of the council, with regards to its enforcement of compliance to standards and laid-down practices in the sector, said a lot of impacts have been made to ensure that people respect the set rules.

He said: “So far, the PCN enforcement team has visited a total of 27,262 facilities across the country, out of this number, we have closed down a total of 19,059. From among these, 1,780 were places operating illegally as pharmaceutical premises.

“Also 16,502 are patent medicine shops. Over this period, a total of 110 persons were arrested and are at various stages of prosecution. In the last quarter, we have carried out enforcement in Oyo, Ogun states and we are currently in Kogi State”

Ahmed further disclosed that a total of 57 pharmacies were sealed in Oyo State, while 335 patent medicine shops were sealed, another 25 pharmacies were shut down in Ogun State during the team’s inspection and 317 patent medicine shops closed down.

“Enforcement activities began after a proposal to set up an Enforcement Department in the Council was approved by the Head of Service of the Federation in 2018”, he explained.

While giving details of the powers given to his office under the new PCN law, Ahmed said the Registrar’s office was now empowered to withdraw the operating licence of any defaulting pharmacy outlets.

This, he said, would enable the council to have an effective grip on the activities of pharmacy shops and ensure that operators play according to the rules.

Vanguard

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