By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, has sealed a total of 439 pharmaceutical premises comprising 42 Pharmacies and 397 Patent Medicine Shops in Akwa Ibom state for various offences.
The Registrar of PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed who disclosed this during a press conference in Uyo on Friday explained that the illegal outlets were sealed when the national enforcement team visited some local government areas.
Mohammed who was represented by Director Enforcement of PCN, Pharm. Stephen Esumobi listed the local government areas visited to include Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Abak, Nsit Atai, Uruan, Etim Ekpo, Ukanafun, Oron, Itu, Ibiono Ibom, Eket, Nsit Ibom, and Mbo,
He explained that the proliferation of illegal medicine shops which worsened during the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the PCN to step up enforcement activities across the country to address the challenge.
His words, “One of the identified weaknesses in the drug distribution chain is the proliferation of illegal medicine shops which has become worse since the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Also the activities of these illegal outlets tend to encourage the abuse and misuse of controlled medicines with the attendant negative social and security implications. In order to address this challenge, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has stepped up enforcement activities and its enforcement team has visited various states of the Federation.
“The PCN enforcement team has been in Akwa Ibom state since the beginning of this week. At the end of the enforcement exercise, a total of six hundred (600) premises comprising one hundred and eighteen (118) Pharmacies, and four hundred and eighty-two (482) Patent Medicine Shops were visited.
“A total of 439 premises made up of 42 Pharmacies and 397 Patent Medicine Shops were sealed for various offences some of which include operating without registration with PCN, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a Pharmacist, selling medicines outside approved list, poor storage and sanitary conditions among others, while nine Pharmacies and Patent Medicine Shops were issued compliance directives.
“Since the enforcement activities started, the owners of these sealed premises have been complying with relevant regulatory requirements for registration and operation of such premises. The Akwa Ibom state office of the PCN is doing all in its power to assist them”
The PCN Registrar stressed that these illegal outlets contribute immensely to irrational dispensing of medicines resulting in treatment failures and untoward effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronise them because they do not have Pharmacists to handle ethical medicines.
He theréfore advised members of the public to purchase their medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) shops.
He thanked the media, Department of State Services, and other security agencies for their cooperation and support to the PCN in its effort to ensure sanity in the drug distribution system in the country, noting, “Pharmaceutical intervention is a vital component in the current fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”