The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), appear to have saved thousands of lives in Sokoto State after it sealed off 352 patent medicine stores and eight unregistered pharmacies for various offences.
Anthonia Aruya, the PCN Director, Inspection and Monitoring, who addressed a news conference on Friday, said their offences included operating without registration and failure to renew premises licence. Aruwa listed other offences as dispensing ethical products without supervision of a pharmacist, poor sanitary conditions among others.
She explained that the PCN is a Federal Government’s agency charged with the responsibility of controlling education, training and practice of pharmacy in all aspects. “The core mandate is to ensure rational distribution and dispensing of medicines that are safe, effective and of good quality to the public.
“The PCN cannot guarantee drugs sold in unregistered outlets that have not complied with the statutory production and distribution laws,’’ Aruya said. At the end of the enforcement exercise in Sokoto, she said 513 premises comprising 26 pharmacies and 487 patent medicine shops were visited.
She added that the PCN observed that many pharmaceutical premises began operations without fulfilling the minimum requirements for registration while many failed to renew their licences. “Some of these premises stored products in environments where the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products cannot be guaranteed. They exposed public lives to serious danger, as many have no requisite knowledge or skills to handle ethical drugs and control medicines in their facility,’’ she added.
She said the exercise was part of the measures to arrest the ugly trend, as similar exercises were conducted in other states of the federation. This, she noted, has prompted owners of such unregistered facilities to troop into the PCN office in Sokoto to regularise their operations, even as she lauded the activities of the state task force in this direction. Aruya said the National Assembly had directed the PCN to close down all illegal premises nationwide and called on the public to patronise only registered medicine stores or pharmacies.