By Felicia Imohimi
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) on Friday says it has sealed 339 illegal pharmaceutical premises in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Registrar of the council, Mr Elijah Mohammed, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the council’s enforcement team efforts to curb activities of illegal pharmaceutical outfits in the country.
Mohammmed said enforcement exercise was carried out by the team on Nov. 20 to Nov. 23.
He added that out of the 496 premises visited in the metropolis during the enforcement exercise, 20 pharmacies, 290 illegal medicine shops and 29 patent medicine stores were sealed for offences ranging from operating without registering with the council and failure to renew licences.
He noted that other offences committed by some of the owners of those premises included dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and sanitary conditions.
Mohammed said areas visited included Kuje, Kubwa, Mpape, Gwarinpa, Idu, Karimo, Gwagwalada, Jiwa, Deidei, Kagini, Zuba, Tunga Maje, Bwari, Ushafa, Abaji, Durumi, Kabusa, Lugbe and Paduma.
The registrar, who decried the unwholesome practices of some drug dealers thereby inflicting injuries on patients, said the council decided to step up enforcement activities across the country to curb their excesses.
He emphasised that most of the facilities had no appropriate storage facilities, leading to deterioration of medicines which made them unsuitable for human consumption.
He said “the enforcement exercise is line with National Drug Distribution Guidelines aimed at ensuring that medicines remain safe, effective and of good quality as they transit from one level of distribution chain to another until they get to the patients and other end users.
“One of the weaknesses in the distribution chain is proliferation of illegal medicine stores and these facilities do not have appropriate storage facilities, leading to
deterioration of medicines, thus making them unsuitable for human consumption.
“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 negative effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronise them.
“Also, the activities of these illegal outlets tend to encourage abuse and misuse of controlled medicines, with attendant negative social and security implications.”
The registrar, however, said some owners of the sealed premises had expressed willingness to fulfill conditions for registration by upgrading their storage facilities.
He added that some others had also pledged to employ pharmacists that would supervise the dispensing of ethical products.