By Hassan Zaggi
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has, on Monday, inaugurated an Investigative Panel to try and recommend punitive measures for pharmacists who have erred in the course of their professional practice.
This is 5 years after it remained without a body that will try and recommend disciplinary measures for deviant members,
The Investigating Panel of the PCN is recognised by law under Schedule 2, Section 17(5) on ‘Supplementary Provisions’ Relating to The Disciplinary Tribunal and Investigating Panel of the PCN Act CAP P17 LFN 2004.
At the inaugural meeting of the Panel in Abuja, the Chairman of the PCN, Tijjani Mora, said the Panel is meant to clean the pharmacy practice and make delivery of pharmaceutical services to the citizenry safe.
While charging the Panel members to live above board, he reminded them of the challenges they may face in the course of their work.
Some of the challenges, according to him, will include “huge backlog of cases that would need to be looked into as it was over 5 years since the last Investigating Panel sat to investigate erring members of the profession; possibility of being compromised, which must be resisted at every point; the likelihood of having to investigate former classmates, schoolmates, friends, associates or acquaintances. However, the Law of the land is supreme and the job must be carried out no matter whose ox is gored; possible dilemma of the subjective nature of the assignment in deciding whether to forward case(s) to the Disciplinary Tribunal, or let it rest at the Investigating Panel level.
“Similarly, there may be some grey areas as to the corrective posture mantra of the PCN as regards dealing with licenced pharmacists or premises and the punitive alternative to serve as deterrent to others.”
Mora charged them on the need for intelligence gathering even before investigation starts and to keep statistics especially of the institutions where majority of the pharmacists presented for investigation graduated from, in order to address the situation during accreditation exercises by looking at the Law and Ethics curriculum of the Faculty or Faculties.
In a related development, Dr. Mora has charged the Appointment Promotion and Disciplinary Committee (APDC) of the Council to ensure that every officer and staff of the PCN is properly recruited, objectively appraised periodically and motivated to put in his/her best in the implementation of assigned responsibilities by way of the assigned job descriptions leading to realisation of the set goals and objectives upon which the PCN was established in the first place.
“If any staff deviates from the expected norm and following due processes, such staff would be subjected to disciplinary measures in order to prevent repeat performance or setting of bad precedence which could lead to other staff copying and by so doing failing to achieve the organizational goals and objectives,” he stressed.
Also, speaking while receiving a delegation of the National Association of Pharmaceutical Products Marketers of Nigeria, in his office Monday, Mora, expressed the commitment of the PCN to work closely with critical stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector for the benefit of all Nigerians.
According to him: “Pharmacy as a profession has dual role. The pharmacist produces a product and offer it for sell. He also engages in professional practice by counselling the patient when dispensing the medication.
“There is a commercial aspect of the pharmacy which has to do with manufacturing, whole selling and importation. This is allowed by law. That is the commercial aspect. You don’t have to be a pharmacist to do that but these companies that are importing, manufacturing and wholeselling must have a pharmacist who is a superintendent pharmacist and who is registered by the pharmacist council.
“They are major stakeholders and this is part of the engagement that we are having critical stakeholders,” he explained.