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The President of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, has called on pharmacists to increase their use of artificial intelligence in drug research to ensure medicine security.
He stated this at the investiture of new fellows of the academy recently in Lagos.
The president lauded the progress being made globally in the areas of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning and the benefits therein for Nigeria.
Adelusi-Adeluyi said, “There is a clear imperative for Nigerian pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and medical professionals in the field of research and development to increasingly take advantage of the revolution in the new digital phenomenon.”
He urged the government to help create the right environment that makes meaningful research possible.
He emphasised that AI was helping to make pharmaceutical research and new drug discovery less expensive and more productive.
He explained, “Researchers realise that in the time that it would have taken to test the efficacy of say a handful of chemical molecules manually, with AI, it is possible to test several hundreds of different chemical molecules.
“With AI, therefore, we can create better, safer, and more affordable medicines, within a much shorter time frame too. In addition to helping to ensure that basic facilities, including clean water and electricity, are available, government policy direction must also be such that deliberately enables AI to take root and grow.”
He stressed the need for pharmacists to enlighten the political leadership, including presidential aspirants on this issue and painstakingly interrogate them on their plans for utilising Nigeria’s oil and gas deposits.
“The political leadership needs to better appreciate why a petrochemical industry is critical to Nigeria and pharmacists have a role not only to continue to drive this enlightenment but also participate actively in the electoral process,” Adelusi-Adeluyi asserted.
Speaking on reforms in the health sector, while presenting a paper titled ‘Advancing Pharmacy for Economy Prosperity Nigeria’, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Professor Cyril Usifoh, kicked against the step being taken to make the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control a revenue-generating agency, noting that it would make the prices of drugs and medicines to soar.
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