From Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
For contravening the regulations guiding the sales of drugs and breaching the mode of operation of Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), no fewer than 266 pharmaceutical shops and patent medicine stores have been sealed off in Ekiti State.
The operation which was carried out by the PCN, six pharmacies that breached the PCN’s code would be prosecuted to protect the ethical practice of the profession and safeguard the health of the people of the state.
The PCN Registrar, Dr. Elijah Mohammed, spoke at a press conference in Ado-Ekiti, at the weekend, after the body’s enforcement team visited some drug selling premises in the state.
Among the communities visited were: Ifaki Ekiti, Ayetoro, Ikole, Ado , Igede, Aramoko, Oye, Ayegbaju Iworoko, Ilupeju, among others.
The Registrar, represented by PCN’s Director of Enforcement, Mr. Stephen Esumobi, said :” At the end of the enforcement exercise, a total of 409 premises comprising 37 pharmacies and 372 patent medicine shops were visited.
“A total 266 premises made up of 12 pharmacies and 254 patent medicine shops were sealed off for operating without licences , dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist and for poor storage and sanitary .
“Six Patent Medicine vendors were arrested for breaking PCN’s seals and they will be charged to court when investigations are concluded”.
Mohammed regretted that many of the medicine outlets in some parts of the country do not have Pharmacists to handle ethical medicines in their premises, saying this had resulted in irrational dispensing of drugs, causing treatment failures and dire effects on patients.
He disclosed that many of the illegal medicine outlets were sources of illicit drugs supplies to criminals in many parts of the country who carried out their nefarious criminal activities under the influence of hard drugs.
“In order to address this challenge, the PCN had been engaging drug dealers, educating them across the states on the need to operate in line with the government regulations.
“The council had also stepped up enforcement activities across the country with the aim of ensuring that illicit drugs dealing are not allowed in the system”.
On how the offenders were being prosecuted, Mohammed said: “PCN lodges complain and offenders are prosecuted by the Attorney General of Federation in the state where the offence was allegedly committed.
“On the offenders apprehended here in Ekiti, we are going to take appropriate steps to ensure diligent and speedy prosecution.”
Speaking on the menace of drug counterfeiting in the country, Mohammed said: “Most of the issues being encountered now is not about drug counterfeiting, but drug degradation caused by poor handling by sellers.
“A check conducted shows that most of the drugs in circulation are genuine, they are not fake, but had been degraded by poor and unprofessional handling by some drug sellers. We are having poor drug handling making drug ineffective and causing serious harm to the kidney and other body organs of our citizens.”