The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has acclaimed the draft Patients’ Bill of Rights (PBoR), initiated and developed under the leadership of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
The broad and comprehensive statement of rights of patients, their responsibilities, and obligations of healthcare providers is the largest step quite yet to protect patients and ensure the highest level of ethical conduct by healthcare professionals as well as enhance the quality and standard of care in the healthcare sector.
The Minister’s enthusiasm and support for the initiative which he characterized as impressive, thoughtful and a matter of legacy was apparent and unmistakeable.
The Minister made these assertions when CPC’s Director General, Babatunde Irukera led a team of CPC management and the working team on the PBoR to a working meeting with the Minister and leadership of the Ministry of Health on the document.
Adewole applauded the Council for the initiative and the scope of the issues covered by the PBoR. He expressed optimism on how transformational it will be to service delivery in the healthcare sector and how it publicizes the standard of care healthcare professionals should be held accountable to.
The Minister and members of his team in particular commended the Council for also identifying the responsibility of patients and their families in the entire care value chain and healthcare ecosystem.
He noted that he had gone through the document, the Legal Department of the Ministry had vetted it, and now critical senior and relevant directorates of the ministry have contributed to the document.
While thanking the CPC, he expressed his conviction that this effort will modify behaviour on both sides of the coin (patient and provider), and demonstrate to citizens that the Federal Government cares about, and prioritizes their well-being and welfare, and is assiduously focused on ensuring citizens are treated with regard and dignity at all times, especially at a vulnerable time like ill-health.
The Minister specifically welcomed the inclusion of detailed rules about the subject of confidentiality, emphasizing that it will promote confidence in the healthcare sector.
The new Nigerian Medical Association President, Dr. Francis Faduyile, and members of his new Executive, who were also on hand, expressed their appreciation for the initiative, and their familiarity with it, as it was part of handing over briefings from the previous and outgone executive team. He committed to ensuring any additional comments from the NMA is promptly forwarded to the CPC.
Irukera, while responding, noted that the PBoR is an example of how the Council can collaborate with professional associations to foster consumer protection, improve internal ethics, and weed out quacks.
He remarked that CPC was proud and grateful about the broad consensus and commitment that culminated in the document with all major professional associations in the healthcare sector, including nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, laboratory technologists, among others, working with the CPC in a working group to ensure the final document captures all the salient issues.
Irukera further noted that CPC is grateful that the Honourable Minister and the ministry will champion and provide leadership for the proliferation of these rights and a better approach to patient care in Nigeria.
Pursuant to Sections 2(c), (e), and (j), Consumer Protection Council Act 2004
Codeine is an opiate, and one of many in the opioids family. It is therefore classified as a narcotic substance, although not an illegal drug. Codeine is largely used as a pain reliever and cough suppressant. As such, it is an active ingredient in some expectorants or cough syrups.
Currently, and in exercise of the regulatory authority of The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), expectorants/cough syrups containing codeine may not be dispensed as non-prescriptive Over the Counter (OTC) medication. As such, it is illegal and a violation of law to attempt to purchase, purchase, as well as dispense any such medication, except exclusively in accordance with prescription by a qualified and legitimate medical practitioner. Any possession, delivery or provision of these medications in the absence of a prescription, or legal acquisition but dispensing to a person other than whom it is specifically prescribed for, is a violation of law, constitutes drug abuse, and presents significant medical risks including possible injury, risky behaviour, addiction, and in extreme cases (especially pediatrics), fatality.
In particular, Codeine is implicated in serious adverse effects when taken with, or contemporaneously with alcohol or carbonated drinks. These methods of mixtures negatively interact and have become a serious and dangerous pattern which pose significant risks of debilitating side effects including respiratory difficulties, nervous system deficiencies and mental impairment.
Emerging professional medical and regulatory preference is to prohibit prescription of cough medication containing codeine to minors because of its properties and propensity to promote addiction and other exposure to illegal drug use.
The Council therefore advises that cough medication with codeine should be prescribed, dispensed and administered in an abundance of caution and only in strict compliance with professional medical direction, and in any case not prescribed for, dispensed to, or administered to minors.
The Council also reminds consumers that violation of law with respect to dispensing, possessing and consuming illegal drugs, or legal drugs illegally is criminal and may subject offenders to apprehension, detention and prosecution, including by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and upon conviction, a sentence to a term of imprisonment.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and senior management of the online marketing companies had a meeting today, March 15, 2018; in part to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day 2018 themed: “Making the Digital Marketplaces Fairer”
The meeting focused on the current consumer experience in the online shopping marketplace. The particular concern that was the subject of discussion was protecting consumers as well as protecting and legitimate and responsible online marketing companies and their brands.
Both the Council and the online marketing companies agreed that only a robust, ethical and well regulated industry can promote consumer confidence and eliminate distrust; prevent fraud and market entry by those who seek to exploit and defraud.
Parties also recognize that technological disruption and innovation remain a vital catalyst for economic expansion, commercial penetration and shared prosperity.
As such the Council and online marketing companies acknowledge that clear and transparent guiding principles, Guidance and a regulatory framework is important to growing and sustaining a vibrant E-commerce industry.
In recognition the Council and online marketing companies adopt certain guiding principles with respect to E-commerce.