The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) at the weekend shut down over 321 pharmacies and patent medicine stores in Bayelsa State.
Speaking to journalists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the PCN’s Director for Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs. Anthonia Aruya, noted that of the total 427 premises visited, 321 were found culpable of various breaches of the rules.
Aruya said there was a renewed effort to entrench minimum standard, save the public from the danger of quackery and ensure that quality, safety and efficacy of medicines are maintained along the distribution lines.
She identified their offences to include: non-compliance with regulatory laws and absence of registered personnel to handle medicines in their premises.
She admitted that there was still a lot of work to be done to reduce quackery and fake drugs in the country, noting that after inspection of pharmaceutical and medicines stores across the state, it was observed that many Nigerians were not getting the quality of service they desired.
“At the end of the exercise a total of 427 premises, comprising 71 pharmacies, 356 Patent and Propriety Medicines Vendors stores (PPMVs) were visited, 321 premises were sealed, comprising 36 pharmacies and 285 PPMVs.
“13 premises, comprising of seven PPMVs and six pharmacies were given compliance directives for various of offences ranging from improper handling of controlled substances, unhygienic environment and poor documentation and dispensing ethical/prescription drugs without the presence of a pharmacist,” she said.
She added that many people go into the sale of drugs without having the requisite knowledge or skills to handle all categories of medicine, adding that patent medicine vendors are restricted by law to handle Over The Counter Drugs (OTC) that have proven safety margin.
Aruya called on the members of the public to always ask for the registration status of facilities by requesting for licences from pharmaceutical outlets to guard against patronising quacks.
“This is the first phase of streamlining the distribution system in Bayelsa State. Further actions will follow in due course since the PCN is committed to full compliance to the National Drug Distribution System.
“The general public is advised to source its drug need from registered pharmacy outlets and over the counter drugs from registered PPMV shops as drugs sold in unregistered outlets cannot be guaranteed to be genuine”, she said.
She reminded practitioners that it is required by law for all pharmaceutical facilities to register with the PCN, noting that the body was ready to prosecute defaulters.