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Pharmacists’ Council arrests four illegal medicine dealers in Owerri

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Owerri

Determined to stop the proliferation of illegal medicine stores, most of which do not have appropriate storage facilities leading to the deterioration of medicines thus making them unsuitable for human consumption, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has arrested four illegal medicine dealers in Owerri, Imo State.

Deputy Director Enforcement, PCN, Stephen Esumobi, told journalists yesterday that the arrests followed recent stepping up enforcement activities across the country and that its enforcement team has visited various States of the Federation.

Esumobi said: “The enforcement team was in Imo state within the week and visited some premises within the state capital. Three premises carrying out illegal sale of medicines including those with narrow margins of safety which are supposed to be dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist were sealed within the state capital, Owerri.”

He said the three premises are located at: Kilometer 5 Okigwe Road, Umuogi Orji, Owerri; No 3 Douglas Road, Owerri; and No 107 Orlu Road, Owerri.

Esumobi said one of the premises had earlier been sealed for the same offence but the owner of the premises broke the PCN seal and continued with his illegal activities. He said the owner of the premises and three other illegal medicine dealers were arrested during a joint operation between the PCN enforcement team and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. “They will be charged to court when investigations are concluded,” he said.

According to Esumobi, 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 stores. Most of these facilities do not have appropriate storage facilities leading to the deterioration of medicines thus making them unsuitable for human consumption,” he said.

The pharmacist further explained: “Furthermore, these illegal outlets do not have trained personnel to handle the medicines in their premises. This has contributed 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.”


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