No fewer than 21 Pharmacies, Patent Medicine shops, and unlicensed premises were said to have been sealed by Lagos State Government for allegedly dispensing and operating beyond approved operational scope in the state.
The outfits were sealed by Lagos State Taskforce in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999.
Some of the outfits were discovered and sealed by the team in Alakuko, Ajegunle, Ologogoro, Ijaiye, Abule-Egba, Agbado, and Agege in Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye and Agege Local Government.
Disclosing the closure on Wednesday while reviewing report of the enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force, Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, explained that the affected premises were sealed for operating without license and engaging unqualified persons to dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens.
Abayomi added that the affected outfits were shut for dispensing ethical products, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises potency of the drugs which further rendered them ineffective amongst others.
He noted that such practices were unacceptable and vowed that the state government will do whatever is necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators.
The Commissioner, however, stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors were authorized to sell only drug products in their original packs and approved size from the manufacturer, just as he argued that the law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors and also prohibits wholesalers operating outside their scope by selling drugs in retail.
Abayomi also noted that the State Government remains committed to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with pharmaceutical products adding that government 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, Acting Director Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mosunmola Olufunmilola, said that the State Government will not relent in its efforts to stop the inherent dangers associated with the operations from unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets and drug shops.
She 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,” Olufunmilola 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 administrative fee.
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.