PCN decries rise in illegal medicine stores, shuts 209
Despite the visible improvement in compliance by some pharmaceutical stores to the operational guidelines of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), report indicates that the activities of illegal medicine dealers are still on the increase.
Twenty two communities in Lagos, which has been indicted to this fault includes Satellite Town, Ojo, Ijesha, Ilasamaja, Ijora, Badiya, Ajegunle, Kirikiri, Alaba ,Okokomaiko, New Era Town, Ajamgbadi, Morogbo,Ijanikin, Badagary, Dopemu, Agege, Ipaja, Igando, Orile Iganmu and Ikotun.
Deputy Director Enforcement, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Stephen Esumobi, said many pharmaceutical premises in these areas commenced operations without fulfilling the minimum requirements for registration while others failed to renew their licences.
He added that some of the owners of these premises lack the requisite knowledge to handle the products in their shops.
Esumobi emphasised that regular enforcement exercise is a continual efforts by the council to reverse this ugly trend and improve on the quality of pharmaceutical services delivery to Lagosians.
In his words: “Drugs exposed to environmental conditions can alter their pharmacological and pharmacokinetic profile thus making them unsuitable for human consumption.
“Unfortunately, these products are sold to unsuspecting members of the public thus endangering their health.”
PCN is the Federal Government parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all aspects and ramifications as established by Decree 91 of 1992, now Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act Cap P17, LFN, 2004.
Esumobi noted that PCN is determined to uphold the laws that regulate the practice of Pharmacy in Nigeria as the Federal government will not tolerate the indiscriminate sale of drugs without compliance to regulatory control.
“The public is advised to purchase their medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed Patent and Propriety medicines vendor shops.
“Those intending to start pharmaceutical businesses should get in touch with the PCN head office located at Plot 7/9, Idu Industrial Layout, Abuja or any of the PCN State and Zonal Offices for proper guidance,” he added.
Esumobi noted that one of the prerequisites for approving a pharmaceutical store is that the premises are expected to apply for location approval.
He said the facility inspection is carried out to ensure that the right storage environment in terms of temperature, relative humidity and proper hygiene is maintained to preserve the pharmacological and pharmacokinetic integrity of the medicines.
“This is because not every location is suitable for pharmaceutical business. When the location is approved, the premises will put the necessary structure in place for facility inspection.
“The inspection ensures that other conditions that will promote good pharmaceutical services delivery are in place. Also the premises are expected to have a pharmacist to supervise the dispensing of ethical products to members of the public,” he advised.
According to the council’s report at the end of the enforcement exercise carried out from Monday, October 30 to Thursday November 2, 2017, a total of 346 premises comprising pharmacies, patent medicine shops and illegal medicine shops were visited.
A total of 209 premises made up of 21 pharmacies, 145 illegal medicine shops and 43 patent medicine stores were sealed for various offences some of which include operating without registration with Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and sanitary conditions among others.
Esumobi lamented that PCN cannot guarantee that drugs sold in unregistered outlets are of the same integrity as specified by the manufacturers since they have not submitted to the regulations that ensures maintenance of appropriate standards for handling such products.
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