The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed off 46 pharmacies and 213 patent medicine stores in Lagos State for non-compliance with operational standards.
The Deputy Director and Head of Enforcement of the council in Abuja, Stephen Esumobi, made this known during a press conference in Lagos at the end of its one week monitoring exercise.
Esumobi said the 259 medicine shops closed down were among the 382 premises visited to assess their compliance to operational standards.
In addition, he said that another 28 premises were issued compliance directives for offences such as poor sanitary conditions, poor documentation and failure to display licences.
The medicine shops, he said, were closed for various offences including operating without registration with PCN, failure to renew premises licence, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist.
According to Esumobi, “There is the possibility of drug-drug interactions, which could also result to death. That is why we are so hard on non pharmacists who sell ethical products.
“What we observed in many parts of Lagos is that so many premises commence operations without fulfilling minimum requirements. Some of these premises store products in environments where the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products cannot be guaranteed thus exposing the public to danger.
“There are some of these products that once exposed to unfavourable storage conditions, they transform to other products; they become toxic.
“At Obalende, we saw that people have very potent drugs in boxes, exposing them to the sun and are selling to members of the public. Most of them can’t even pronounce the names of these drugs.”
The exercise, which is not punitive, but was part of efforts to reverse this ugly situation, he said, was also to strengthen the enforcement operations of PCN state and zonal offices across the country.
“We are not out to destroy anybody’s business; all we are trying to do is to encourage them to do the right thing to enhance public safety and public health,” he said.
In conjunction with other bodies like NAFDAC, Esumobi said PCN was also working to eradicate medicine hawking on Nigerian roads.
He advised members of the public to purchase their medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed patent and propriety medicines vendor shops.
Those intending to start pharmaceutical business, he urged to get in touch with the PCN head office or any of its state and zonal offices for proper guidance.