By Sola Ogundipe
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, has sealed up 268 pharmaceutical outlets in Lagos State for operating with expired licenses and in unregistered premises among other infringements of the provisions of the Law.
The PCN Registrar, Pharm Elijah Mohammed who disclosed this at a press conference weekend, said the PCN’s National enforcement team visited various parts of the State during which it issued compliance directives to 15 premises for various lapses in professional practice.
The Director, Inspection & Monitoring of the PCN, Pharm. Anthonia Arya, who represented the Registrar, said during the exercise, the team also monitored compliance to the guidance of COVID-19 guidelines.
She said the National enforcement team of the PCN has been on ground in Lagos State since August 10, 2020 and visited various parts of the State.
“At the end of the exercise, a total of 585 premises were visited, 268 premises were sealed for not registering or renewing their premises as required by Law or infringing on any other provision of the Law. Fifteen premises were issued compliance directives for lapses that can easily be corrected practice.
“The PCN suspended its enforcement activities due to the lockdown but had to resume when it was discovered that illegal medicines sales outlets with attendant unwholesome practice are springing up due to the exemption from the lockdown given to the pharmaceutical sector to provide pharmaceutical services to the general public during the lockdown,” she noted.
Further, Arya said the PCN in fulfillment of its mandate has been carrying out enforcement activities nationwide in a bid to sanitise the distribution value chain towards the provision of quality pharmaceutical services delivery to the general public.
“By law all premises where pharmaceutical activities take place are expected to be registered and currently licensed by the PCN after meeting up with the laid down guidelines that will ensure that minimum standard of practice is in place in such facilities to maintain the integrity of such products as it moves down the distribution value chain until it gets to the patients or client.
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“Such requirement includes maintaining adequate ventilation and temperature control, proper hygiene, good documentation practice among others. In addition, stakeholders are supposed to have the necessary training to handle medicines based on the scope of operation they have been licensed to operate.
Arya urged the public to look out for the Pharmacists’ annual license and the premises certificate which should be conspicuously displayed or made readily available and the license of the Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors, PPMVs, to avoid patronizing quacks.
According to her, medicines sold in unregistered outlets cannot be guaranteed to have the efficacy, quality and safety as those sold in regulated facilities.
“Medicines are expected to be sold in highly regulated environment, a situation where people engage in the sale of medicines without recourse to regulations guiding the practice is highly unacceptable to the Federal Government, particularly when we understand that drugs are poisons and must be used strictly as directed to avoid deleterious effects.
“The Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors, PPMVs, are to handle medicines that are Contained in the list approved by the Minister of Health; these are simple remedies proven to have wide safety margins and generally referred to as Over-the-Counter drugs,” she noted.
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