By Chinonye Anyatonwu
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has stressed the need for the pharmaceutical industry to be strengthen through the development, adoption and enforcement of standards to safeguard lives.
Mallam Farouk Salim, Director-General, SON, gave the advice at a public lecture at Igbenedion University, Okada, Edo State with the theme: “The Impact of Standards on the Practice of the Pharmacy Profession” recently.
SON is the apex standardization body in Nigeria with the responsibility to provide standards and quality assurance for all products, services and processes in line with international best practices and to ensure continual improvement.
SON boss said standards is critical to the survival of the civil society, and assured the safety of lives and properties as they establish boundaries and allocate responsibilities.
He noted that standards was particularly more crucial in the pharmaceutical sector given its role in the care af the weak and seeing that the pharmacy practice (clinical and industrial) had zero tolerance for error.
He said “SON has explored the existing international, regional and national standards to meet up with the unique challenges facing the African trade including the pharmaceutical. Standards enhances investment in trade and Africa healthcare industry as enshrined in the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
“SON as a member of African Organisation for Standardization
(ARSO) is spearheading and actively involved in the harmonisation of a number of African pharmaceutical standards.
“This includes ARSO/TC 78 for medical devices and equipment, TC 80 on pharmaceutical and medical products and TC 82 on African Traditional Medicine. In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 aimed at building the knowledge base and formulating national policies, SON in collaboration with the ARSO has developed over 10 standards on African Traditional Medicine for use in Nigeria,” he said.
The SON boss noted that in spite of the great potentials of the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, only 3% of medicines are locally products in Africa. He said that the objective of the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Industry to provide 60% of pharmaceutical products consumed by west African countries was largely dependent on regulatory requirements, required by their marketing authorisation.
“Given the wide range scope of the pharmacy profession which includes the synthesis, efficacy testing, formulation, manufacturing, dispensing, clinical assessment of drugs as well as handling, you can no doubt begin to see the relevance of standards in the pharmacy profession.
“In order to effectively deliver on its mandate and promote the required standards to ensure the safety of goods and services in the country and conformity with international requirements for trade, SON follows a well planned procedure for establishing standards.
“Standards are also applied in the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the strength of the active ingredient quality and purity of drugs and other pharmaceutical products.
“It ensures safe and effective products for patients and form basis for the regulatory requirements for industrial practice which ensures quality in the entire chain of drug production to its distribution,” he said.
He also reiterated the agency’s commitment to working with relevant authorities such as National Agency for Food, Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and others for the approval of more traditional medicine standards.
Prof Lawrence Ezemonye, Vice Chancellor, Igbenedion University, Okada, Edo State, said it was undisputed that the pharmacy profession played a vital role in delivering care and helping people maintain and improve their health, safety and wellbeing.
He added that the profession could improve the quality of care they provide through adherence to standards for education and training, registration to practice, code of conduct, amongst others.
Ezemonye revealed that the university had recently received accreditation for Bachelor of Pharmacy degree programme by both Pharmacist Council of Nigeria and the National Universities Commission with the first set of admission in 2022/2023 session.
“lt is instructive that this event signposts our commitment to scholastic engagement and community service aimed at strengthening our relationship with society through the mechanism of “Town and Gown”.
“This is in tandem with the remit of
universities as centres of excellence for knowledge production.In recent times, the college has taken giant strides towards maintaining high standards in teaching, research and development.
“We have continued to escalate our internationalization drive involving research and collaboration and organisation of conferences, workshop, with foreign institution and bodies.
“The results have been cheering with positive impacts on teaching, learning and research output while enhancing the university’s visibility,” he said.
Prof. Ighodaro Igbe, Dean, College of Pharmacy, stated that the idea of a public lecture became imperative, first as an integral part of the college’s academic tradition to generate discourses around pertinent issues in Nigeria today.
“Secondly, it is an opportunity for universities to engage with government. business and the public to inform and educate the community through leading open discussion of issues that confront our nation, our region and the world.
“It is against this backdrop that the topic for today’s lecture was carefully crafted to capture the concerns of stakeholders.
The Professional Practice Standards (PPS) is intended to provide guidance on the expected standards of professional behaviour of pharmacists towards individuals, the community and
society,” he stressed.
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