Head of Pharmacy in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr Caroline Olumese says there is an urgent need to address 'Out of Stock' (OS) syndrome in Nigerian hospitals.
Olumese further advised hospitals still experiencing OS to devise a means of eliminating it within the shortest possible time.
According to the pharmacist, Out of Stock syndrome was no longer acceptable in modern healthcare delivery system.
"We should never tell patients there are no drugs," she said.
The chief pharmacist noted that UBTH had developed a policy of 100 per cent availability of drugs.
"It is no longer permitted for any staff to tell patients to source drugs from anywhere else apart from the hospital pharmacy.
"Management came up with this policy even up to availability of soaps for people with skin problems.
"The onus lies on me (Chief Pharmacist) to bring out the money and we buy items needed by patients," she said.
Olumese said that UBTH under the leadership of Prof. Darlington Obaseki had come up with innovative measures to ensure that the hospital would not run out of drugs.
She noted that UBTH had three major divisions in its pharmacy department – Patient Services, Drugs Services and Special Projects.
"The departments work together to ensure continuous supply of drugs to patients.
"That is our mission and vision statement: to ensure we provide quality drugs to our patients," the chief pharmacist said.
According to Olumese, UBTH Pharmacy Department also produces some medications.
"There are some drugs you cannot get outside which we reformulate for doctors' use.
"We also have our own oncology pharmacy and we were able to get some companies to give us biosafety cabinet.
"One biosafety cabinet is more than two million naira, and right now we have two," she said.
The chief pharmacist said that UBTH had also been able to reduce costs and help patients to save money by reformulating drugs instead of allowing wastage.
"There is a way we do it so that three cancer patients can use the same drug instead of buying one for each," she said.
Olumese urged hospitals to adopt the practice so that out-of-stock syndrome would be eliminated from Nigeria's healthcare delivery system.