After codeine, next ban on alcohol

After a recent ban on cough syrups with codeine, the crack down on substances prone to abuse could continue with alcohol.

Health minister Isaac Adewole hinted alcohol was a problem, citing sale of alcohol has moved from “bottle to sachets”, many containing as much as 50% alcohol by volume.

“Next ban is going to be on alcohol,” he said during talks in Abuja with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

PSN has raised concern about abuse of substances, citing “misuse and abuse of medicines” and seeking policy changes to empower pharmacists to control use of drugs and dispensing of prescription medicines.

PSN president Sam Ohuabunwa said pharmaceutical care had been “infiltrated by interlopers sending people to their graves” by selling medicines in every location from kiosks and on buses to night clubs and bars.

He said PSN would work with the health ministry to “rein in misuse and abuse of medicines” and empower pharmacists to be accountable for “every capsule and tablet” circulating in the country.

PSN wants the National Drug Distribution Guidelines reordered and fully implemented to maintain oversight on pharmaceutical products.

Among asks during the talks, PSN wants the board Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, which regulates the practice of pharmacists, reinstituted, noting that “operating for long without a board was injurious to ethics and standards.”

It also wants policy changes allowing pharmacists to be included in appointments to the boards of teaching hospitals and federal medical centres.

Ohuabunwa also raised concern that the act of parliament enabling PCN had been reviewed and passed by the National Assembly but was yet to be signed by the Presidency.

PSN has also asked the health ministry to institute central posting for pharmacy interns as is being done for medical interns.

“Many young pharmacists roam the streets searching for internship placements,” said Ohuabunwa, calling it a “painful situation.”

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