By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The Lagos State Government has sealed 32 pharmacies and patent medicine stores for illegally dispensing drugs to residents and operated beyond the cope of their establishment in the state.
Some of the outfits sealed by the government were located in Dopemu, Mangoro, Cement, Oniwaya, Ayobo–Ipaja, OrileAgege, Akinogun, Mosan and Ikola axis of Agege and Alimosho Local Government areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, disclosed the number of affected pharmacies on Sunday after reviewing the report of the first enforcement exercise carried out by the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit of the year.
Abayomi noted that the sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999.
The Commissioner explained further that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops were sealed for offenses including operations without a license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs thereby rendering them ineffective.
He, however, stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell only drug products in their original packs in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies as the law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors as the law also prohibits wholesalers operating outside their scope by selling drugs in retail.
Abayomi assured that the present administration remains committed to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drugs and will continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.
Speaking in the same vein, Director Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo, said that the State Government will not relent in its efforts to stop the inherent dangers associated with the operations of unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets and drug shops.
Adejumo added that the Task Force through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate has been re-energized to intensify the on-going war against fake, expired and substandard drugs being peddled by unlicensed and illegal premises.
“This closure is thus part of the government’s renewed efforts to sanitize the drug distribution system and curb proliferation of fake drugs in the State,” Adejumo said.
She explained that an investigative meeting would be held with owners of the sealed premises to make further inquiries on the status of the sealed premises and to notify them of the procedures and appropriate conditions to be met for reopening in line with government regulations and payment of an administrative fee.
She, however, noted that the enforcement and compliance raid by the State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods was carried out in collaboration with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Federal Taskforce on fake drugs and the Police Officers from Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) of Lagos Police Command.