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Escalating Drug Prices Elicit Concerns from Pharmacists and Patients Amidst Economic Uncertainty

A growing wave of apprehension has swept through the ranks of pharmacists and patients as drug prices experience a sharp and concerning surge, with some prices soaring by as much as 100 percent. This unsettling trend, attributed to a complex interplay of factors including inflation, erratic foreign exchange rates, and a spike in petrol costs, has ignited deep-seated anxieties within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.

Pharmacy professionals are sounding the alarm on the far-reaching implications of these price hikes. Sesan Kareem, the visionary Founder and Chief Executive Officer of HubPharm Africa, highlighted the harsh realities resulting from a perfect storm of economic challenges. “The cost of drugs has increased significantly,” Kareem disclosed, revealing that the price of certain drugs has skyrocketed by a staggering 100 percent. This financial strain is reverberating across socioeconomic strata, leaving both the affluent and the less privileged grappling with the fallout, culminating in a trying period for countless individuals. “Almost all the drugs have increased by about 50 to 100 percent. The drugs for diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions have experienced substantial escalations,” Kareem observed.

Recent findings from a survey undertaken by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) serve to underscore the prevailing concerns, validating the distressing trajectory. Over the past two months, a significant majority of medicines have witnessed price hikes of no less than 30 percent. Adewale Oladigbolu, the astute National Chairman of ACPN, voiced grave reservations about the potential implications of this unsettling trend for the healthcare landscape. He voiced apprehension that these surges in pricing could potentially undermine the accessibility of essential medications for a sizable portion of the population. “Many people may not be able to afford the essential drugs they need to take care of themselves,” Oladigbolu cautioned.

These burgeoning costs are already making their presence felt among patients, intensifying concerns surrounding the viability of healthcare access. A patient, who grapples with diabetes, shared a distressing anecdote, revealing that a medication she previously acquired for N3,500 has experienced an unwarranted inflation to N4,500. This disconcerting shift in cost is reverberating throughout the patient community, fostering worries that this trend could inadvertently drive an uptick in self-medication practices.

As the pharmaceutical landscape navigates these weighty price hikes, the prevailing concern remains focused on the overarching implications for public health and patient well-being.

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