By: Ade Adeleke
The Pharmacists Council Of Nigeria (PCN) has arrested Seven illegal Medical Dealers and shut down three Hundred and One pharmaceutical premises and patent medicine stores in Ondo State.
The medicine outlets were sanctioned for offences such as operating without licenses, sale of ethical products without experts’ supervision, poor storage conditions, unauthorized relocation of premises among others.
The PCN Registrar, Elijah Muhammed represented by the Council’s Director Enforcement, Mr Stephen Esumobi, disclosed this in Akure while briefing newsmen after few days of enforcement operations in the state this week.
He said activities of these illegal operators were endangering the lives of the people.
According to the PCN Registrar, Seven owners or agents of illegal pharmaceutical outlets were arrested during a joint Operation between the PCN enforcement team and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Mr Muhammed said those apprehended would be charged to court when investigations were concluded while efforts would be intensified to ensure that the other culprits were arrested and prosecuted.
It will be recalled that the PCN enforcement team was also in Ondo state in July this year and shut down over two hundred pharmaceutical premises within Akure and environs for carrying out illegal sale of medicines.
He said Eighteen premises were issued compliance directives for offences such as non-display of licences, poor documentation among others.
“One of the objectives of the new National Drug Distribution Guidelines is to ensure that medicines remain safe, effective and of good quality as they transit from one level of the distribution chain to another until they finally get to the patients and other end users.
“One of the identified weaknesses in the distribution chain is the’ proliferation of illegal medicine shops. Most of these shaps do not have appropriate storage facilities leading to the deterioration of medicines thereby making them unsuitable for human consumption.
“Furthermore, these illegal outlets do not have Pharmacists to handle the ethical medicines in their premises. This hascontributed immensely to irrational dispensing of medicines resulting in treatment failures and untoward effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronize them.
“Also the activities of these illegal outlets tend to encourage the abuse and misuse of controlled medicines with the attendant negative social and security implications.
“In order to address this challenge, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has stepped up enforcement activities across the country.
“The PCN enforcement team was in Ondo state in July and sealed off over two hundred premises within Akure and environs for carrying out illegal sale of medicines including those with narrow margins of safety.
“Some of these premises broke the PCN seal and continued with their illegal activities. This prompted the enforcement team to visit the state again.
“Furthermore, in continuation of the enforcement activity in the state, the enforcement team visited some other towns like Ondo, Oba ile, Ogbese and Owo. At the end of the exercise the team visited a total number of Four Hundred and Ninety Six (496) premises comprising of Sixty Six (66) pharmacies and Four Hundred and Thirty (430) patent medicine stores.
“A total of Three Hundred and One (301) premises were sealed comprising of Thirty (30) pharmacies and Two Hundred Seventy One (271) patent medicine stores for offences such as operating without licenses, Sale of ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, carrying out activities beyond the scope of licence, poor storage conditions, unauthorized relocation of premises among others.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank the officers and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, The Nigerian Police, Department of state services and the press for their continuous support.”