Pharmacists council seals 301 illegal medicine stores in Ondo

• Seven offenders to appear in court

As part of efforts to rid off fake drugs and substandard medicine practitioners for better pharmaceutical services delivery, the Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN) said about 301 patent medicine stores had been sealed off by the Council in Ondo State.

This was disclosed by the Council Registrar, Mr Elijah Muhammed, during a press conference in Akure, Ondo State capital, who stated that seven people who broke the seal of the PCN and continued with their illegal activities after the last operation had been arrested.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Council’s Director Enforcement, Mr Stephen Esumobi, said the offenders will be prosecuted while the Council will intensify efforts to ensure that other culprits are apprehended.

According to him, the affected pharmaceutical shops were sealed for offences such as operating without registration with the council, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist and poor sanitary conditions, among others.

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He explained that many of the offenders were operating without following due process, while many others do not have the requisite knowledge or skills to handle medicines in their premises.

He noted that some persons who not permitted in law to handle controlled substances were found to stock and sell such products in disregard to the law and endangering the public.

“This has contributed immensely to irrational dispensing of medicines resulting in treatment failures and untoward effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronize them.

“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, however, said as part of the Council efforts to eradicate and stop these abuses of drugs, the enforcement team had sealed off some premises within the state capital and environs which included Ondo, Oba ile, Ogbese and Owo

He said “Some of these premises were found to be carrying out illegal sale of medicines including those with narrow margins of safety which are supposed to be dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist.

“Some of these premises broke the PCN seal and continued with their illegal activities. This prompted the enforcement team to visit the state again.

Seven owners or agents of these premises were arrested during a joint operation between the PCN enforcement team and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. They will be charged to court when investigations are concluded.

He explained that “at the end of the exercise the team visited a total number of 496 premises comprising of 66 pharmacies and 430 patent medicine stores.

“A total of 301 premises were sealed comprising of 30 pharmacies and 271 patent medicine stores for offences such as operating without licensure, sale of ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, carrying out activities beyond the scope of licence, poor storage conditions, unauthorized relocation of premises among others.

“Eighteen premises were issued compliance directives for offences such as non-display of licences, poor documentation among others.”

He reiterated that corrective measures will continue to be employed by the council to guide those willing to engage in the business, while punitive measures will also be enforced on recalcitrant illegal stores and operators.

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