NAPPMED, LSMDA partner PCN to regulate Patent Medicine Vendors in Nigeria

IN pursuant to its core mandate of establishment which is regulation of Patent Medicine Vendors (PMV), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) and its associate, Lagos State Medicine Dealers Association (LSMDA) in its bid to reposition the registry to enhance the outcome of its activities.

   In the process leading to this partnership, several meetings were held by PCN with officials of these associations to address the fears and grievances of their members and identify ways of enhancing the licensing process and other regulatory roles of PCN.

   The following were mutually understood and entered into by the parties at a follow-up meeting held late last year. 

   According to a release made available to The Guardian, it reads: “pursuant to the mandate of PCN, NAPPMED and its associate, LSMDA shall partner with PCN to carry out the regulation of Patent Medicine Vendors in Nigeria.

   “PCN has agreed to liaise with other stakeholders and relevant government agencies with a view to reviewing, from time to time, the approved drug list for Patent Medicine vendors in line with the national drug policy.

   “The prevention of drug hawking falls under the mandate of NAFDAC, however, the proliferation of drug hawkers in Nigeria is a major concern and will be presented by PCN representative at the meeting of the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food.

   “On the ongoing sensitization on the modalities for implementing the Mega Drug Distribution Centers (MDDC), NAPPMED is urged to encourage its members that meet requirements to establish MDDCs before the deadline of July, 2015.

   “It is understood by parties that the use of Policemen by PCN inspectors is desirable as it ensures safety of the inspectors and averts possible breakdown of law and order during inspection exercises and for no other purposes.

   “To render the collaboration with the PCN effective, NAPPMED and LSMDA have undertaken to mend fences and operate with singularity of purpose and shall in future discourse present issues as a united body.

   “Parties are of the understanding that the guidelines on Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors License (PPMVL) which provides that ownership of Patent Medicine Shops should be open to all Nigerians who have met the requirements should be respected in order not to infringe on the rights of citizens.

   “Unscheduled Inspection on pharmacies and patent medicine shops by PCN is an essential part of its regulatory mandate to ensure rational distribution and dispensing of medicines in Nigeria, however, only PCN accredited inspectors with identity cards will be involved in the exercises across the nation to avoid chances of unauthorised persons from abusing the process and NAPPMED is urged to insist that inspection officers properly identify themselves.

   “The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria will investigate the alleged unauthorised inspection of Patent Medicine Shops by some members of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) in Lagos State.

   “The provisions of Cap. 152 as contained in the PPMVL Guidelines for establishment of Patent Medicine shops is to fill the gap in areas where there are inadequate health facilities (including pharmacies) and personnel. However, because of peculiarities in some states and different health policies of the various state governments, NAPPMED shall dialogue with the respective state PPMVL Committees to explore areas where concession can be granted.

   “The PCN has given assurance that it will re-structure its licensing processes to enhance its efficiency while NAPPMED shall educate its members on the need to promptly pay for their licenses and sign posts to avoid delay in their issuance.

   “Parties are satisfied that PCN is contributing immensely to the training of Patent Medicine vendors through Orientation courses, Continuing Education Programmes and other collaboration with developmental partners, however, in states where the training schedules are not complied with, the PCN will ensure compliance by PPMVL committees of such states.

   “The position of the PSN Chairman as a member of the state PPMVL Committee is in line with the guidelines and it shall be maintained. It was also noted that the slot reserved for a member of civil society in the PPMVL committee was given to a member of NAPPMED by PCN in the spirit of collaboration.

   “NAPPMED shall communicate to its members the need to avoid unnecessary litigations and to first consider dialogue with the PCN before seeking redress in the law courts and further to prevail on its members to withdraw all pending suits against the PCN across the nation. 

  “The PCN will ensure that 2015 PPMVL application forms are available at its state and zonal offices nationwide by December 2014 and in subsequent years.

   “Collection and processing of PPMVL forms will now be done through PCN State and Zonal offices nationwide. This is to address some of the complaints of vendors.

   “In terms with the dictates of the law, NAPPMED shall educate its members who are fresh applicants for PPMVL to ensure that their shops are inspected and licensed before they start stocking and or selling medicines. 

   “The meeting and consultation between PCN and NAPPMED will be a continuous one to enhance collaboration and address possible areas of conflicts in the future.”

   And finally, “all Parties agree to maintain strict confidence with respect to all information acquired in course of this understanding (other than such which is in the public domain). Parties agree that under no circumstances will they or their agents transfer or distribute confidential information to any individual or entity that is not a party to this MOU nor will such information be used for any purpose other than the duties and obligations under this MOU.”

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