acpn Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN)
The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN)

Pharmacists Outline Strategy to Fish Out Quacks in Lagos  

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Chapter, has vowed to fish out quacks operating in the state in order to move the profession forward.

Chairman of the association, Lawrence Ekhator, said the time has come for ACPN to tackle the menace of ‘register and go’ syndrome, an unethical practice that allows a registered pharmacist to drop his certificate for registration in exchange for money.

He said the unprofessional conduct had tarnished the image of pharmacists and brought the profession to disrepute.

Speaking at a free Health Outreach Programme held for traders at the popular Alade Market, Ikeja, organised by ACPN, Ikeja Zone, Ekhator revealed that there are lots of bad eggs among the practitioners who encourage and fuel the register-and-go syndrome, popularly known as R&G practice, which allow the influx of charlatans into the profession.

He noted that the menace of R&G had become very rampant, especially at this period when the country was faced with a shortage of healthcare practitioners due to the mass exodus of professionals to foreign countries.

According to him, pharmacists in this class believe the best way to go is to register an outlet using the R&G format and collect money in return.

He said, “The menace of R&G appears insurmountable as the practice has become an embarrassment to the profession and one of the ways the association has decided to checkmate it is to leverage technology.

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“This will be done in such a way that all the registered pharmacists in the state would be biometrically captured so that with a tip of a finger, the location and identity of the owner of every pharmacy outlet in the state can be known.

“We have tried several means in the past and we engage the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria to assist us in this regard, but all to no avail. So we have decided to stop putting the blame at the doorstep of the PCN and take the bull by the horn in our little way. We believe if the data of all registered community pharmacists is biometrically captured, there won’t be room for R&G any longer.”

Also speaking, the Chairman, Healthcare Providers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Branch, Abiola Paul-Ozieh, said the biometric data capturing of members is a right step in the right direction.

He said the profession is not a trader association, but a set of professionals, who are expected to do things professionally.

“The step taken by the association was self-regulation targeted at reducing or possibly eliminating the practice. The practice of dropping one’s certificate in exchange for an agreed monetary compensation and walking away is absurd and should stop”, she added.

On her part,  Coordinator, ACPN, Ikeja Zone, Vivian Ibeh, said pharmacists in Ikeja and its axis have decided to make the process easier by bringing healthcare, checkups, consultation and others closer to the people and of course, making it free of charge, while expanding the roles of community pharmacists, which entails ‘point of care testing’.