Fake Drugs: Pharmacists Pledge To Deploy IT For Service-Delivery

By Chioma Umeha

Pharmacists under the auspices of  Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has pledged to deploy appropriate technologies to tackle high prevalence of fake and counterfeiting drugs in the country.
Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, the PSN President said the time is ripe for pharmacists to take advantage of digital evolution and data transformation to monitor medications, create value as well as enhance service-delivery.
He spoke in Lagos during a workshop weekend, tagged; “Convergence of technology and the impact on pharmaceutical practice,” organised by the Education committee of the society.
Commenting on the theme, he said that PSN would incorporate technology as part of a multidisciplinary and collaborative healthcare team.
This, he said, would enhance pharmacy practice and delivery of pharmaceutical services to patients.
Yakassi added that the association would deploy the international standard dispensing software for best clinical practice, patients’ management and intervention therapies.
Yakasai said PSN is working in partnership with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other agencies determined to fight fake drugs using the latest IT technologies.
He noted that technologies had transformed every spectrum of the society and PSN must not be left out in the digital revolution.
“No doubt that we need to harness the power of digital technologies and data transformation to create value and offer better services to the public”, Yakasai said.
According to him, it is the desire of PSN “to leverage on technology to create a better practice and training for all of us.”
He explained: “In our digital age, technology is shaping our world in a big way and its impact in any profession can never be underestimated. Technology is taking people and organisations from the lowest depth of frustration to the greatest pinnacle of achievement and the pharmaceutical sector must not be left out.”
According to him, with the technological devices, there would be efficient standard and evidence-based medication documentation and making of quality products for consumers.
The Chairman, PSN, Pharma Industry IT Platform, Lekan Asuni, added that the workshop was to assess the gaps in the deployment of IT in the pharmaceutical industry so as to bridge them.
Asuni also said that it was also vital to controlling the cases of counterfeit drugs that had permeated the Nigerian market.
He noted that most pharmacists have keyed into the digitisation drive, but more efforts still need to be put in the area of adopting appropriate technologies to drive pharmaceutical practice.
He said: “It is catching fire, but there is still a lot to be done. It is a work in progress. The goal is to see that in different areas of practice, we use different aspects of IT.
“Some are specific for your area of practice, but there are some that we need to see how they link together and speak together so that we know what is going on across different practice areas. This will enable us have a common platform to access data and information by both practitioners and the general public.
“So the essence of this workshop is to assess what we have, what are the gaps and what we can do to be IT ready for the future.”
The Acting Director General, National Agency For Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), Yetunde Oni, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Felicia Enigimi, urged stakeholders to adopt a mobile application software to checkmate the status of NAFDAC-regulated products in the country.
Corroborating earlier views, Pharm Lere Baale, stressed the adoption into law of pharmacy informatics as a required course in every tertiary institution for graduating students of Pharmacy.
Pharmacy informatics is a field that deals with the use and integration of data and medicines usage in the continuum of healthcare, including the acquisition, storage, analysis and medicines knowledge to achieve improved health outcomes.
This inclusion, Baale explained would mean every pharmacist graduating thereafter will be duly equipped to be relevant in the future of healthcare.
Also, they will be in a position to use their skills and knowledge to provide individualised and specialised patient care in an increasingly digital world, he added.
The keynote speaker Pharm Remi Adeseun’s presentation was an expository on the world of technology and how it will benefit the profession.