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Council arrests six illegal medicine dealers in Abia for allegedly breaking seals


As part of efforts to enforce the objectives of the new National Drug Distribution Guidelines 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, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has arrested six illegal medicine dealers in Abia state for breaking seals.

The PCN in a statement signed by Head Corporate Communications, Stephen Esumobi, said it has stepped up enforcement activities across the country. Esumobi said: “When the enforcement team visited Abia state, some illegal premises were sealed off while investigations continued to ascertain the status of owners, scope of illegal activities in those premises and their collaborators.

“As a result of this intervention, some premises upgraded their facilities to meet conditions for storage of medicines while others have employed pharmacists to supervise pharmaceutical activities. However, some of the premises owners who refused to comply with guidelines broke the PCN seals and continued with their illegal activities. These premises are located in Aba, Umuahia, Isialangwa and Ohafia areas of the state. This prompted this follow up enforcement visit which was jointly carried out with the officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).”

The Head Corporate Communications said the owners of six of these premises have been arrested so far and efforts are ongoing to apprehend and prosecute other suspects who are currently at large. He said the PCN would do all within its power to ensure that all those involved in breaking our seals are prosecuted.

Esumobi said one of the identified weaknesses in the distribution chain is the proliferation of illegal medicine stores and most of these premises do not have appropriate storage facilities thus exposing medicines to adverse environmental factors that degrade them and make them unsuitable for human consumption.

Furthermore, he said these illegal outlets do not have pharmacists to supervise the dispensing of medicines to the public. This, according to Esumobi, has contributed 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,” he said.

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Stephen Esumobi
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