The management of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, and the Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production, CDDDP, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan have entered into an agreement aimed at controlling the sharp practices in the drug production sector in the country and improve the quality of drugs.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), was part of the activities marking a recent three-day-old International Conference on Medicine Regulation organised by the centre in conjunction with United Kingdom-based company, Reckitt Benckiser.
The conference, themed: Medicine Regulation of Claims: From Concept to Launch, which held at the university’s Conference Centre, brought together members of the academia, pharmaceutical industry and regulators to chart a way forward in medicine regulation.
The Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, Professor Chinedum Babalola, in her opening address said the conference was in response to the nation’s need to improve the existing linkage between academia and industry, noting that the faculty had always aimed at aiding the development of pharmaceutical industry in the country.
The NAFDAC Director General, Dr. Paul Orhi in his keynote address described the conference as historic and a right step in the right direction.
He emphasised the need for the gown and town to partner to address health challenges facing the country. He attributed the success of the MoU signed at the event to the commitment and dedication of the leadership of the Pharmacy department and its foresight.
The Managing Director of Reckitt Benckiser (West Africa), Rahul Murghai, lauded the industries’ commitment to the production of products capable of enhancing good health among the populace. The Centre for Drug Discovery Development and Production (CDDDP) also used the conference to invite applicants for Postgraduate Diploma in Drug Development (PDDD).
Towards achieving a health care system with proper regulation of medicinal products claims, the Center for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP) University of Ibadan, Nigeria in conjunction with Reckitt-Benckiser organized a three-day international conference tagged ‘Medicine Regulation of Claims: From Concept to Launch”. The conference which held from Wednesday, 2 to Friday, 4 October, 2013 at the University of Ibadan was described by the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Dr. Paul Orhii in his keynote address as a historic and remarkable event. Dr. Orhii said that NAFDAC as a regulatory agency plays a critical role in the development of the pharmaceutical industry, there is the need for the agency to partner with the academia in Nigeria to ensure the production of medicines that can cure various diseases.
While responding to questions from the participants in a three-hour interaction with them, Dr. Orhii stated that drug counterfeiting is a major challenge facing NAFDAC, hence the creation of the pharmacovigillance and post market surveillance as strategies for ensuring sustainability of of quality drugs in Nigeria. Dr. Paul Orhii also signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Ibadan and NAFDAC. In addition, Dr. Orhiii officially received a proposal by the CDDDP to partner with NAFDAC on Bioavailability and Bioequivalence (BA/BE) studies.
In her opening address, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Principal Investigator CDDDP, Professor Chinedum Peace Babalola noted the significant contributions of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan to the development of the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria in the last thirty years when the Faculty was established. She said that one of the objectives of the centre is to bridge the gaps between the industry and the regulatory body as well as the academia and the society in order to ensure an improvement in regulation and circulation of medicines to meet the needs of the society.
The Co-Principal investigator, Professor Itiola noted that the conference marks the commencement of a continuous cooperation between CDDDP and Reckitt-Benckiser which is crucial to industrial drug development and production. Professor Itiola added that the collaboration would lead to an improved level of research in the university and the industry, which will consequently translate into the development of new drugs.
The Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser (West Africa) Mr. Rahul Murghai stated that the company is glad to partner with CDDDP in order to improve the relationship between the academia and the industry. Mr. Murghai mentioned that apart from engaging in the production of drugs that are capable of enhancing good health, Reckit Benckiser is also involved in some health programmes which include; educating mothers on hygiene, teaching healthy habits to school children and helping with disaster relief programmes in collaboration with non-governmental organizations. The Regional Director, Regulatory Affairs and Medical Services, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and West Asia (NAMET-AFRICA) at Reckitt Benckiser, Dr. Soufia Hanna gave an overview of the Regulatory Trends of Medicines in the Middle East and Africa. The Director of Regulatory and Medical Affairs, Reckitt Benkiser (Europe), Mr. Aomesh Bhatt was also present at the event.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac F. Adewole who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Professor Arinola Sanya stated that as a leading African institution, UI has the capacity to effectively engage in cutting-edge research. He noted that the university has received several grant awards directed toward research and one of such awards was utilized in establishing the Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production. He commended the centre for bringing together experts and other relevant stakeholders from across the globe to deliberate on the theme of the conference.
Facilitators at the event included Professor O. Ogunniyi from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan who gave a talk on “Ethical Issues in Medicine Promotion” while Pharmacist (Mrs.) Bukky Iyanda delivered a lecture on “A Comparison Between Community Pharmacy Practice in the United Kingdom and Nigeria” and another one on “The Standards Guiding the Roles of Pharmacists and other Pharmacy Professionals in the United Kingdom”. The conference highlighted the roles of the academia in medicinal product claims regulation and how it can help investigate claims made by pharmaceutical industries on their products with a view to strengthening the relationship between the industry and the regulatory agencies. Stakeholders in the drug production and regulatory authorities, pharmaceutical companies, community pharmacies, academia as well as medical and health professionals attended the conference.
As 2015 begins, practitioners in health want the Federal Government to show more commitment in the sector, BUKOLA ADEBAYO reports
Despite the fact that Nigeria successfully checked the Ebola Virus Disease in its tracks less than two months after it crept into the country last year, stakeholders still hold the view that all is not well with the sector.
According to them, there is need to do more this year if the nation’s health care system is to reclaim its lost glory. There judgment is not far from the truth. For one, activities in many public hospitals came to a halt for many months with patients suffering more pain and agony. This followed numerous industrial actions embarked upon by the different health professionals in the sector.
Indeed, critically ill patients were turned back at emergency units of many of the hospitals between July and August last year as doctors, who should tend to their wounds, were at loggerheads with the Federal Government.
Even now, respite is still elusive in the sector as the public hospitals offer only skeletal services. In fact, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and other allied workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Union are sitting at home waiting for the Federal Government to heed to their demands.
According to stakeholders, for Nigerians to get a deserving health care system, the Federal Government must this year take bold but decisive steps to tackle industrial disharmony, medical tourism and the fake drug syndrome facing the sector.
Close open drug markets – PSN
While regulatory agencies in many developing countries spend their resources on developing research on vaccines and medicines, their counterparts in Nigeria, stakeholders say, expend huge resources mopping up counterfeit and substandard medicines coming in through the nation’s porous borders.
The President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Olumide Akintayo, warns that Nigerians may spend more to get cure for simple ailments, if the Federal Government does not take drastic steps to tackle the alarming influx, circulation and distribution of fake drugs in the country by closing open drug markets.
According to Akintayo, the government can no longer afford to feign ignorance on the havoc that quackery is wreaking on the health of innocent and sick Nigerians.
The government’s inaction in tackling the fake drug menace, he alleges, is about to drive investors away from the country’s pharmaceutical sector.
Akintayo notes, “The government is aware of the channel through in which fake drugs are circulated and distributed nationwide and it must be ready to break this cartel. To do this, it must shut down the open drug markets,which are now more than 50 across the country.
“If it does not do this, what it means is that if an importer brings in N1bn worth of fake drugs this night, it will be all over the country by the next day through these open drug markets.
“The government must deal with this huge network because it is chasing investors who want to increase Nigerians’ access to quality medicines. No serious investor will bring in billions to compete with quacks and counterfeiters. It must put a stop to the peculiar pharmacy practice in Nigeria.”
On the need for a conducive environment, the PSN boss tasks the Federal Government to tackle the epileptic power supply in the country to allow local pharmaceutical industries to compete with their counterparts in the production of quality but affordable medicines.
Akintayo notes that though five Nigerian pharmaceutical companies received the World Health Organisation certification for Good Manufacturing Practices last year, they would need financial and infrastructural support to survive.
“There is no way the price of a diesel-powered manufacturing plant can compete with the drugs from countries with constant electricity. This situation has now put Nigerian drug manufacturers at a disadvantage in the global market. The government must be serious about helping local production,” he adds.
The ability to successfully read concealed emotions through an individual’s body language is very important in all aspects of life. The skill has a wide application “from the board room to the bar-room to the bedroom”. Especially for anyone involved in a business dealing with people, such as Pharmacy, a sound knowledge of body language skills is a major advantage.
Community pharmacy practice
If there was ever a time you recorded incalculable losses in your premises, due to the pilfering habits of your staff (the presence of CCTV machines notwithstanding), then understanding of body language skills – as we shall be exploring in the next few months– will be of great value to you.
If you have ever been bothered about why a competing pharmacy has been doing better, despite your longstanding heritage in a locality, it could be that the owner has tapped into some essentials in body language, while your customer relationship method has been purely transactional.
Do you know how powerful it is to be able to say for sure that a particular customer (say, a doctor) isn’t prescribing your brand just by applying the knowledge of statement analysis? Wouldn’t it be nice if, as a medical representative, you can read the micro-expressions of the customer that keeps pretending to add value to your business, whereas you cannot track any significant benefit commensurate to your investment?
As a pharmacist in the quality assurance department, having an eye for details is non-negotiable, otherwise the company stands the risk of losing so much money, should it be found wanting in adhering to compliance rules. The Thalidomide experience of the 1960s was a tragic one. If only someone had paid more attention to details. How about getting hold of an art that can help boost your awareness and sensitivity above mediocre levels?
One key area in body language is deception detection whose foundation is rooted in paying keen attention to details. This ability is important in any journalist. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool kit with which you analyse statements (both written and verbal) adequately and then ask questions that help you uncover the real facts beneath a matter, which had hitherto been hidden?
Interpreting non-verbal signals
Your nonverbal signals express your emotional state. Your posture, whether walking, standing, or sitting can indicate if you are confident, relaxed, bored, or defensive. Facial expressions can show if you are happy, surprised, fearful, or disgusted, without even saying a word. Hand and leg movements can communicate nervousness, indecisiveness, and defensiveness.
The reason these non-verbal cues can show deception is because when a person knowingly tells a lie, it creates some degree of stress within, as a result of the build-up of stress hormone (cortisol) in the body. This stress will usually surface in the form of a body movement. This is similar to the principles that govern a polygraph test.
One major aspect of nonverbal communication is micro-expression detection. Micro-expressions are involuntary facial expressions caused by emotions. These tiny expressions can occur as fast as 1/15 of a second. While people may be able to fake some facial expressions, it is very difficult to control micro-expressions.
Human brain and limitations
Despite how powerful the human brain is, it has its own limitations. One major limitation is information assumption, also known as inattentive blindness. This inattentive blindness, for instance, is the reason a surgeon could forget a surgical tool inside the abdominal region of a patient who has just undergone surgery.
A student with a track record of diligence who attempted five questions, when, unknown to him, he was expected to answer six, simply suffered from inattentive blindness. If this happens regularly, you may call it carelessness; but if it does once in a blue moon, it is called inattentive blindness.
Unfortunately, no human brain has immunity against this phenomenon – not even those who are extra careful in the way they do things. The frequency can only be reduced to the barest minimum. Part of the essence of body language analysis is to help sharpen your skill in accurately deciphering non-verbal cues which cannot be easily picked up by an average person because of the limitations of the brain – and to come up with a mitigation plan that is deemed appropriate.
Below are two key deception detection techniques:
The baseline of an individual refers to the default behaviour of a person. If you must decipher micro-expressions and body language gestures accurately, you must be able to identify what the baseline of the person in question is. For example, if a person is fond of folding his arms across his chest in most situations, it might be an error for anyone with a certain level of knowledge of body language to assume that the person is being defensive or not open to ideas, even though this gesture naturally suggests this.
Finding out the baseline helps you calibrate the individual and sieve gestures for proper interpretations. This means that, for anyone that is fond of doing a particular thing greater percentage of the time, the day you observe a deviation from that baseline behaviour it suggests that there is something wrong. This is called the probing point in body language. By asking the right questions, you can get to the knowledge of the truth.
Illustrators are gestures that prove you are telling the truth. Manipulators are gestures indicative of deception. Anytime you observe that manipulators increase and illustrators decrease, then it’s a good sign of deception. However, this does not mean that the manifestation of one or two of these gestures automatically shows that a lie is somewhere around the corner. Deception detection demands a little more than just surface read of gestures.
Examples of manipulators are: lip-biting, mouth twitches, “hard swallow”, sweating even in cool weather, eye block, lip compress (showing a restrained emotional state), eye rub, increase in blinking rate, concealment of hands and fingers, throat clearing, scratching the back of the neck, hands touching the face, nose touch, earlobe rub, picking up of imaginary lint, etc. When a suspect is under pressure, the level of cortisol (stress hormone), increases in his body and a good number of these manipulators are involuntarily exhibited by him, which serve as indicators of deception, provided the baseline has been identified.
The nose, for example, contains erectile tissues which dilate when blood flows through them. This often occurs during excitement, pressure or anxiety and there usually is a response from the body of the individual by touching the nose. The reason you don’t touch your nose always is because you don’t have this process taking place all the time. Anything that puts you under pressure could cause you to touch the nose.
The next edition will be a build-up on this. Remember, whether you are speaking or not, your body keeps speaking.
(By Dr Lolu Ojo)
Let’s be blunt. Customers are the best judges of professionalism, not academic qualifications or certifying boards. Not everyone who practises a profession will be called a professional by the customers. And, while we may not all agree on who qualifies as a “professional”, most people know when they’ve been served by one. They also know when the person serving them, no matter the level of training and certification, is being less than ‘professional’ in their performance.
So, here’s a question for the pharmacist reading this article: Are you a true professional or just someone who has undergone the rigorous training and obtained the certifications to practice in this field? This is an important question with implications for the future of the pharmaceutical profession and other professional fields in Nigeria. My hope is that, as a society, we can start exploring, defining and re-discovering all the important attributes of a professional and injecting these back into all jobs.
A professional is more than someone ‘paid to undertake a specialized set of tasks’. He or she is,additionally, an expert with specialised knowledge base; a person with high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities and; above all, an individual ‘who willingly adopts and consistently applies the knowledge, skills and values of a chosen profession’. The quality of being a professional, therefore, combines the basic knowledge in the chosen field with the attitudinal attributes of the person involved.
Character is the combination of qualities or features that distinguish an individual. It is the moral or ethical strength that defines the capacity, position or status or reputation of the person. It is the characteristic property that describes the apparent individual nature of something.
Integrity refers to the consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. It is the inner sense of wholeness, the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of action. Honesty is ‘telling the truth to other people’ while INTEGRITY is ‘telling yourself the truth’.
With the definitions above, how do we discuss PROFESSIONAL CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY in Pharmacy? Are we true professionals who have willingly adopted and consistently applied the knowledge, skills and values of the pharmacy profession? What are we getting paid for: carrying out a specialised set of tasks with character and integrity OR simply for having a degree in Pharmacy?
The questions must also be directed to each of the technical groups or practice area in order for us to have a very clear view of the profession’s current situation:
We are certainly on the right track and we will get there: Building a pharmacy profession with character and integrity in Nigeria.
God bless Pharmacy in Nigeria!
No fewer than 40 Pharmacy students were recently inducted into the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) by the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, at a ceremony held at the school’s lecture theatre.
The glamorous occasion, which took place on 3 July, 2014, had several students, parents, pharmacists, pharmacy professors and members of the PCN in attendance.
Welcoming the audience to the institution’s 27th induction ceremony, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) Prof. Emilolorun Ayelari, stressed that the past 30 years had seen the Pharmacy faculty develop into an enviable academy, due to its significant contribution to meeting the manpower needs of the nation’s pharmaceutical sector.
Prof. Adewole noted that the commitment of the faculty to excellence contributed toits recent establishment of the Centre for Drug Discovery, Development and Production (CDDDP) through the MacArthur Grant for Excellence.
On her part, Prof. Chinedum Peace Babalola, the first female dean of the faculty,congratulated the graduands and theirwell-wishers present at the ceremony.
She declared that the faculty had produced great professionals and currently houses great minds who have won laurels, grants and recognitions, locally and internationally.
While observing that the faculty was the only one teaching herbal medicine in Nigeria, Babalola urged other Pharmacy faculties to embrace the initiative.
Also applauding the graduands, PCN registrar, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, charged them to discharge their duties professionally, as well as provide innovative services that would distinguish them.
Muhammed however lamented that it was quite unfortunate that brain drain had led to shortage of pharmacists in the nation’s pharmaceutical sector. He reassured the graduands that his administration would reposition Pharmacy registry for effective service delivery and institutionalisation of good pharmacy practice in Nigeria.
The highpoint of the event was the award of the much coveted PCN prize for the best graduating student, which was won by Abiola Adenike