A petition to stop the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria from going ahead with its PEP exams
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The coalition which is made up of former PANS leaders from across the nation have declared that the PEP EXAM is inconsistent with the regulatory responsibilities of PCN. We have noted among other things that even though we would never kick against any plan of the council to enhance the profession but that this proposed post internship examination was one of the few policies the council had taken without adequate consultations.
It might interest you to know that the PCN has been scheming on how to over-regulate the profession of pharmacy in Nigeria with special interest of strangulation on the young pharmacists. You would recall that not too long ago, the council came up with a pauperising policy of five years post-graduation experience before one would be allowed to practice as a community pharmacist. It took the timely intervention of several pressure groups and well meaning individuals to stop the policy from being implemented. You would remember too that such a policy was adopted for implementation at a time when there was nationwide outcry that the number of practising pharmacists in Nigeria was in very short supply and there was urgent need to increase the number. If that policy had been implemented, it would have severely grated the psyche of an average young pharmacist and further confirmed the general belief that PCN & PSN do not care for their younger colleagues.
As if they are not done with their anti-pharmacy policies, PCN has once again begun a self-indicting exercise by believing that a post internship examination would help them to achieve robust competence for the young pharmacists in Nigeria. And this illusion is coming at a time when most pharmacy graduates are yet to secure internship placements after years of being inducted into the profession due to the rather reactionary and often indifferent nature of the council towards pro-pharmacy issues in the country. The indifference paid to young pharmacists' issues in this country is very worrisome and discouraging. We have been battling with the dearth of internship sites and even expected that by now, PCN being a government agency would have, in conjunction with PSN NATIONAL and State leaderships commenced the expansion of the internship sites to include more government agencies such as NDLEA, SON, Federal & State ministries of health, NESREA, and private settings like some private hospitals and getting more community pharmacies approved for the scheme with a regularised salary scheme.
We are very worried that our welfare isn't taken into consideration during their policy formulations, rather it's what will serve their own immediate interest that they are always so passionate about.
You would recall that Nigerian pharmacists are on the brink of destitution which has really portrayed the pharmacy profession as one where her members suffer in the midst of obvious plenty while impostors bestride the horizon with opulence and unimaginable wealth. And you should know that this is also, one of the many outgrowths of the dehumanizing over regulation of pharmacists by the PCN. For more than a decade, there's been several calls for PCN to set machinery in place to address the chaotic drug distribution system, get the PharmD not just approved on paper but gazetted by the Federal Government with full rights and privileges, support the very important specialist scheme for pharmacists by lobbying the government to approve and commence the recognition of consultancy status for pharmacists who had passed through the very expensive West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists, and to support and boost political awareness of student pharmacists in our various schools of pharmacy through policies that will ensure that pharmacists become more politically aware and confident to lead the pharmaceutical sector. All these and many other pro-pharmacy issues had received little or no attention from PCN but when it comes to policies that will negatively impact on the profession, they'll be quick not to feign indifference.
We have queried the rationale behind this so-called exam through our umbrella body, The Young Pharmacists Group (YPG-NG) ably led by Dr Peter Onimisi and PCN hadn't been able to give cogent and comprehensive reason why it's determined to toe this part of insensitivity. Yes, we know that there has been a national concern to enhance the learning of young pharmacists and to build them up for the task ahead but we have always directed such calls to the various schools of pharmacy where these graduates are made. You cannot abandon your regulation of schools to come at the internship stage to impose a kangaroo exam on people. It is unacceptable and ill-advised. If PCN is very sincere about the plan to enhance the study of pharmacy in Nigeria, they know where to start from and what to do. How does one rationalize that PCN would be indifferent about giving Pre-Induction Examination, that is if they genuinely think there's any need for a national exam from the council as against leaving all these stages for a robust regulation just to impose an irrelevant exam on people who have already rounded off their internship?
We would like to inform the council that such a trick and back-door policy to obtain the sum of 25,000 Naira under this harsh economic weather with no support at assisting with the internship placements, is dead on arrival and we make bold to inform everyone that we are determined to challenge this joke even at the Supreme Court. We understand that this matter according to the PCN's registrar was the decision of the previous council and we also know that since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Governing Council of PCN has not been constituted. This then begs the question on which other council again is spearheading this exam. If there's no council to further mandate the registrar to go ahead with this decision or to halt its implementation, isn't it wiser that the registrar seeks final approval from the Annual General Meeting of pharmacists (AGM) come November 2017 at Umuahia in Abia State ?
Why the haste to commence this exam in October before the PSN Conference scheduled for November in Abia State? Who approved this worrisome fee of 25000 and to whose pocket is it going to? How important is this exam and what will it achieve at the end of the day? Will it boost the almost absent self-confidence of Nigerian pharmacists or will it make young pharmacists to practice beyond their years in the profession?
By this statement, we want to categorically state without any modicum of equivocation that the era of bedroom policies of the PCN and their penchant for forcing every of their ill-advised decisions down the throats of Nigerian pharmacists is gone.
We hereby call on all Nigerian Pharmacists, The Leadership of PSN, PSN Board of Fellows, all the technical arms of the profession, civil society groups, young pharmacists group, student pharmacists, well meaning Nigerians and leaders of thought to prevail on the PCN to suspend this examination.
We hereby put forward a petition to garner support towards this suspension of this exam.
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