Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday entered into a pact with the former Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), Professor Dora Akunyuli in its fight against the selling and distribution of fake drugs in the Niger Delta region with the foundation laying of the first National Drugs Distribution Centre in Yenagoa.
Speaking at the launch of the Drug Mart in Yenagoa, Hon. Dickson lamented the increasing rate of fake drugs in the market, adding that the project will go a long way in the elimination of fake drugs, not only in the State but the nation as a whole.
According to the Governor, the edifice when completed will be equipped with medical formation which will include a pharmaceutical mast, emergency medical service and a medical store among others.
According to him, all these steps will amount to nothing if steps are not taken by government to also provide quality, genuine and affordable drugs to the people of the state.
“We need to be sure of the quality of drugs in supply, not only through public institutions, but also through all private retail outlets in the state”
“This project, when completed will curb the menace of fake and adulterated drugs which has been the bane of the Nigeria drug market. “In addition, it will address goals 4 and 5 of the Millennium Development Goals”
Hon. Dickson called on those in the drug industry, other states in the South-South zone as well as Bayelsans to avail themselves of the opportunity to access the Pharmaceutical Storage and Distribution Complex where only quality and genuine drugs will be made available for sale.
Earlier in her address, Professor Dora Akunyili; founder, Dora Akunyili Foundation for Safe Medicines described the foundation laying ceremony as a dream coming into reality, adding that the idea predated the present administration.
Drug Mart, according to her is one of the most practical ways by which fake and counterfeit drugs can be eliminated in Nigeria with the objective being to create an orderly network and conducive environment for the sale and distribution of wholesome pharmaceutical products under the supervision of professionals.
She said her original plan was for the Drug Mart to be established in the six geo-political zones of the country, with Yenagoa in Bayelsa State as the Headquarters for the South-South zone and commended Governor Seriake Dickson for helping her fulfil her dream.
Professor Akunyuli noted that previous attempts by government to close existing drug market could not yield the desired result because of the non-availability of a viable alternative and thanked Bayelsa State for setting the pace with the Drug Distribution Centre, which she said will be leased to drug companies to enhance their distribution system within the South-South zone, to curtail distribution through the present illegal unregulated markets where good drugs are most times mixed with fake drugs.
She equally stated that the state government will recoup its investment in the project through revenues from the drug companies and management of the centre.
The Former NAFDAC Director-General called on other leaders to take a cue from the leadership style of Governor Seriake Dickson expressing the belief that the centre will be the only remedy to put a stop to all fake and adulterated drugs in circulation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Awoli Anapurere said the Ministry of Health kick started the process of establishing a drug revolving scheme in all health facilities in the state with a medium term sector strategy to modernize drugs storage by complementing the central medical store with a drug distribution centre which was approved in the 2013 Budget by Governor Seriake Dickson and the State House of Assembly.
The Commissioner noted that the commencement of the project has been demonstrated with the ground breaking ceremony of the Drug Mart in the state and applauded the efforts of the State Government to continually provide qualitative and affordable health care service delivery in the state with a view to achieving a healthier workforce in the State.