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Pharmacists intensify drive to curtail illegal drug practices

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Pharmacy shop stocked with essential medicines

Pharmacist’s Council of Nigeria (PCN) ongoing drive to free Nigeria from illicit drug practices has recorded a major feat as the enforcement team stormed Enugu State, sealing 264 premises made up of 52 illegal pharmacies and 212 Patent Medicine Stores (PMS).

This is a result of various offences ranging from operating without registration with PCN, failure to renew premises licence, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor sanitary conditions among others.

Pharmacist Council of Nigeria is the Federal Government Parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all its aspects and ramifications with the mandate of ensuring rational distribution and dispensing of medicines that are safe, effective and of good quality to the public.

Director Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs. Anthonia Aruya, said the Council has been actively fulfilling its mandate by carrying out enforcement activities across states including, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Ebonyi, Kwara, Benue, Delta, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Abuja, Nassarawa, Cross Rivers, Ogun, Kaduna and Taraba States with the Honorable Minister of Health recent directive to ensure that all warehouses and locations where drugs are stored, sold, distributed or dispensed are registered with the PCN.

Aruya added: “What we observed in Enugu State is that so many premises commenced operations without fulfilling minimum requirements for registration while others failed to renew their licence to operate such premises or shops. Some of these premises store products in environments where the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products cannot be guaranteed.

“This exposes the public to serious danger. Others do not have the requisite knowledge or knowhow to handle the highly ethical drugs in their facilities. This exercise is part of efforts by the PCN to reverse this ugly trend and improve on the level of Pharmaceutical services delivery to the good people of the State.”

She continued: “The PCN enforcement teams visited various parts of Enugu State including Trans Ekulu, Nowas, Abakpa, Awkunanaw, Garki, Uwani, Maryland, Achara layout, Ogui road, Asata, old UNTH road, New Artisan, Oye, Emene, Nchatanta, New Haven, Upper Chime, CoalCamp, Nkanu east and west, Isi-uzo 1 and 11, Nsukka, ObolloAfor, Udenu. At the end of the enforcement exercise a total of 339 premises comprising 82 Pharmacies and 257 Patent Medicine Shops were visited. Five arrests were made while three compliance directives were issued.”

She revealed that owners of unregistered facilities have been visiting the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Enugu Zonal office to regularise their registration status and PCN is making every effort to promptly attend to them and ensure that their facilities meet minimum requirements in line with laid down guidelines.

Aruya lamented that the council cannot guarantee that drugs sold in unregistered outlets are of the same integrity as specified by the manufacturers since they have not submitted to regulation that ensures maintenance of minimum standards for handling such products.

She advised the populace to purchase their medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed Patent and Propriety medicines vendor shops and also to look out for the pharmacists Registration sign and license or the patent triangular sign with their license.

She encouraged those intending to start pharmaceutical business should get in touch with the PCN head office located at Plot 7/9, Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja or any of our state and Zonal offices for proper guidance.


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Anthonia AruyaPCNUNTH

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