Introduction: Inappropriate use of medicines remains a problem, with consequences including increasing adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and prolonged hospitalizations. The Essential Medicines List and Drug and Therapeutics Committees (DTCs) are accepted initiatives to promote the rational use of medicines. However, little is known about DTC activities in Nigeria, the most populous African country. Areas covered: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among senior pharmacists, consultant physicians, and clinical pharmacologists in 12 leading tertiary health-care facilities across Nigeria. Expert commentary: Six (50%, 6/12) health-care facilities had existing DTCs with three (50%) having a subcommittee on antimicrobials. Seventy-five percent had infection control committees, with presence even in centers without DTCs. Chairpersons and secretaries of the DTCs were predominantly physicians (83.3%) and pharmacists (100%), respectively. Hospital formularies were available in five facilities with DTCs, while one facility without a DTC had an Essential Medicines Committee responsible for developing and updating the hospital formulary. The evaluation of ADRs was undertaken by pharmacovigilance units in nine facilities. Overall, DTCs were present in only half of the surveyed facilities and most were performing their statutory functions sub-optimally. The functioning of DTCs can be improved through government directives and mechanisms for continuous evaluation of activities.
- Rational use of medicines
- adverse drug reactions
- drug and therapeutic committees
- drug formulary