National Chairman of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Wale Oladigbolu, has warned members against using their pharmacy shops as Point of Sales (POS) business centre.
Oladigbolu described such practice as unprofessional and would be sanctioned by the professional body.
He made the call following the news that some pharmacists in the community have joined POS operators who are taking advantage of the prevailing cash scarcity in the country to extort helpless Nigerians.
Recall that before the new naira notes were introduced, POS operators have been charging marginal commissions on cash withdrawal.
However, since the introduction of the new notes, especially as the deadline set for the old ones approached, accessing new notes has been a tug of war, making POS operators charge exorbitant fees.
Some customers of retail pharmacies who prefer anonymity confirmed that the ones in their neighbourhood are now running POS services with the same charges others are collecting.
According to one of them “the pharmacy close to my house has been the one giving me cash, although he still collects the same commission, since I don’t have another option, I just collect it like that.”
Oladigbolu condemned the act, saying it is against humanity and any pharmacist who continues to indulge in it stands a chance of being disciplined as it is an unethical practice.
“Any pharmacist that engages in that is not being professional, because even though you say money management is not part of our practice, helping the community is in our heart and that is what we love to do every time.
“I don’t think any thorough professional pharmacist will take advantage of a situation like this.
“Just yesterday, we were analysing the situation and some community pharmacists just voluntarily said they are helping their community, which they are not charging high like POS and other businesses are charging.
“After surcharging them, it is the same customers that you are still expecting to patronise you, so how would they evaluate your practice, when you take advantage of them with the scarcity of naira? Then that means when they are sick, you have ample opportunity of extorting them more,” he said.
Also reacting to the development, a former Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. Ismail Kola Sunmonu, frowned at the act, and urged his colleagues to be ethically minded, cashless economy or not.
According to him, pharmacists should desist from engaging in unethical practices like POS businesses as it is demeaning for the profession, rather, they should seek means of uplifting the status of pharmacists in the community, by rendering charitable services to alleviate the sufferings of their clients.
“Our colleagues should desist from doing POS business, uphold the ethics of the profession give succour to the distressed and empathise with patients,” Sunmonu stated.
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