As part of efforts to achieve the objectives of the new National Drug Distribution Guidelines, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has intensified efforts to close down illegal medicine outlets in the country.
The enforcement team of PCN has sealed 15 illegal medicine dealers in Bayelsa and Edo States.
The PCN, in a statement signed by the Deputy Director Enforcement, Stephen Esumobi, said the team visited some premises and at the end of the exercise, five illegal medicine dealers operating in four premises within and around Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital were arrested.
In Edo State ten illegal medicine dealers operating in five premises were arrested.
The PCN said some of the premises had earlier been sealed for the same offence but the owners of the premises broke the Council’s seal and continued with their illegal activities.
The owners of the 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.
The PCN said proliferation of these illegal medicine outlets have been identified as one of the major weaknesses in the distribution chain. The Council said most of these facilities do not have appropriate storage facilities leading to the deterioration of medicines thus making them unsuitable for human consumption.
Esumobi said it has become necessary for the PCN to step up enforcement activities across the country to ensure 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.
He further explained: “Illegal medicine outlets pose a great danger to public health because many of them have become channels for the distribution of medicines of doubtful quality, safety and efficacy to the public.
“Furthermore, these illegal outlets do not have pharmacists to supervise pharmaceutical activities. 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.
“Similarly, the operators of these outlets see medicines as any other article of trade and do not understand the various factors that are important for their optimal use.
This has led to the promotion of activities that tend to encourage the abuse and misuse of controlled medicines with the attendant negative social and security implications.”
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