The Deputy Director of Pharmacy Department, National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Kingsley Ekwunife says pharmacists involved in drug compounding must continue to be diligent, noting that any error from them can result in deaths of many patients.
Ekwunife said where a doctor can be excused for making a prescription mistake, an industrial pharmacist cannot be pardoned for committing an error in drug production or compounding.
According to the United States Food and Drugs Administration website, drug compounding is often regarded as the process of combining, mixing, or altering ingredients to create a medication tailored to the needs of individual patients.
The FDA disclosed that a drug may also be compounded for certain patients with allergy or elderly patients or children who experience difficulty swallowing a tablet or capsule and need medicine in a liquid dosage form.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Ekwunife explained that it was pertinent that pharmacists involved in such drug handling be mentally-alert and careful at all times.
“Pharmacists are experts and researchers trained in all the process of drug production. For instance, where a doctor can be excused for making a prescription mistake, a pharmacist cannot be pardoned for committing an error in the process of drug production or compounding.
“A mistake from a doctor can lead to the death of one patient but a mistake from a pharmacist can lead to the death of hundreds. This is why pharmacists are trained to be extremely careful in the way they handle drugs. That said, I must say that Nigerian health professionals are the best anywhere in the world,” he said.
While lamenting the numerous challenges facing the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, he noted that pharmacists who are into research rarely get sponsorship in the country.
“Pharmacists don’t get the needed support and conducive work environment for research. In this country today, nobody supports pharmacists to do research and most of our young pharmacists cannot afford to do it all by themselves.
“That is why young pharmacists are leaving for Canada and first world countries in search of greener pasture.
“We are talking about some of our brightest and the best. Every time I lose a pharmacist under my care, I don’t feel good. The main complaint bothers more on the work environment, which they described as very unconducive for the pharmacist or any serious healthcare worker,” he said.
The pharmacist also expressed concerns about the manner of antibiotics abuse in the country.
“Virtually every patient that visited our hospital complains about typhoid and malaria. Both ailments are conjoined twins. Personally, I think most malaria and typhoid are over-diagnosed in Nigeria. You cannot just visit a laboratory once and conclude you have typhoid based on one laboratory result. This is one ailment that can be determined after conducting laboratory test three consecutive times.
“But some results just return with a conclusion that the patient is suffering from an infection. From there, they will go on drug abuse spree. The rate of antibiotic abuse is too high in Nigeria and that is why the drugs are becoming ineffective.
“No person should take antibiotics without laboratory result and we must also learn to take the full course of the antibiotics to be effective,” he said.
Recall that Nigeria Centre for Disease Control joined the global community on November 18 to commemorate the 2020 World Antibiotics Awareness Week.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu emphasised that since 2017, NCDC as the National Antimicrobial Resistance coordinating body had worked closely with states, relevant stakeholders in the ministries of health, agriculture and environment to strengthen surveillance for AMR and raise awareness on this global public health threat.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation set aside the month of November to raise awareness on AMR, which occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites resist the effects of medicines or antimicrobials, making common infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.
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