30 June 2016
A protest embarked upon by the Oyo State faction of the Nigerian Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) on Wednesday is still ongoing.
The protest march began from the state’s Government Secretariat on to Yemetu, Total Garden Area of Ibadan, the state capital.
The protesters blocked a section of the road opposite the Secretariat carrying warning placards.
One of such placards read: “Pharmacists stop harassing our members.”
The association has been protesting the alleged closure of their businesses by officials of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
Its claimed that the closure was a violation of rights of its members and that PCN had no constitutional right over the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers Association to either issue licences or shut down patent medicine businesses.
The right to issue proprietary medicine licences, it stressed, was that of the Ministry of Health.
Contrary to the association’s claims, however, a 2008 Nigeria Private Sector Health Assessment notes that official licensing of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) and retail pharmacies is overseen by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
While PPMV licensure does not require formal training in medicine or pharmacy; the individual must have completed an apprenticeship with a more senior PPMV before opening their own shop, and by convention are expected to have completed primary school.
Patent and proprietary medicine dealers or vendors are described as people without formal training in pharmacy who sell orthodox pharmaceutical products on a retail basis for profit.
They are established as a category of retailers by the Ministry of Health to provide a source of medicine in communities with limited access to essential health commodities.
The vendors are permitted to sell non-prescription and Over-The-Counter drugs, but are prohibited from conducting invasive medical procedures, even ones like administering injections, and can only sell oral contraceptives to non-first time users and those not experiencing complications from use.
Author: Aderonke Adeleke
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