By Sola Ogundipe
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, has recorded major judicial victories in its quest to further strengthen its drive to regulate the practice of pharmacy in the country.
Incorporated Trustees of Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, had dragged the PCN to court to challenge its powers to regulate and control pharmacy education, training and practice in all aspects and ramifications as set out by Act 92 of 1991 Cap. P17, LFN 2004.
In the suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/66/2008 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association argued that the mandate of the PCN should be restricted to manufacturing, distribution, sale, and dispensing of human drugs while contending further that only Veterinary surgeons should have the authority and rights to handle, sell and dispense veterinary drugs, vaccines and animal biologicals.
While dismissing the suit in favour of PCN, on March 24, 2017, the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Dimgba held that the provisions of the Animal Diseases (Control) Act does not impinge on the powers of PCN in respect of registration of premises where animal drugs are kept and, therefore, attempt to draw a distinction between human drugs and animal drugs is a misguided one.
This decision has put to rest the regulatory power of PCN in respect of Veterinary drugs.
In a related development, a Rivers State High Court sitting at Port Harcourt struck out a suit brought by one Dr. Grace Achilike, a medical doctor against PCN and others over the enforcement activities whereby her unregistered premises named Prize Pharmaceuticals was sealed by the PCN.
In the Suit, the Plaintiff claimed that the exercise of powers by the PCN amounted to breach of her fundamental human rights to the sales and dispensing of drugs. But the presiding Judge rejected the contention and struck out the suit.
Similarly, in a suit between Oyedeji Ola-Egbon Ent. Limited & Ors vs PCN & ors, the Plaintiffs sued the PCN and others over the sealing and evacuation of prescription drugs from their premises which were being sold and dispensed without a superintendent pharmacist in control.
But in its ruling, the court awarded judgement in favour of PCN.