By Sola Ogundipe
The Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods has shut 21 pharmacies, patent medicine shops, and unlicensed premises for illegal operation and operating beyond scope of practice.
Disclosing this in Lagos on Tuesday, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the premises located at Alakuko, Ajegunle, Ologogoro, Ijaiye, Abule-Egba, Agbado, and Agege in Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye, and Agege Local Government areas of Lagos were shut in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999.
Abayomi who spoke while reviewing the report of the enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force explained that the affected premises were sealed for quackery, operating without a license, and engaging in the sale of ethical products.
Other offenses include displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs thereby rendering them ineffective amongst others.
He noted that such practices are unacceptable vowing that erring operators would be sanctioned.
The Commissioner said only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell drug products in their original packs in approved sizes as produced by the manufacturers, noting 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.
He warned that the State Government remains committed to halting the ugly trend of unqualified personnel dealing in pharmaceutical products while insisting that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.
The Acting Director Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Backley Mosunmola Olufunmilola said 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.
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“This closure is thus part of the government’s renewed efforts to sanitize the drug distribution system and curb the proliferation of fake drugs in the State,” Backley said.
She informed that an investigative meeting would be held with owners of the sealed premises for further inquiries regarding the procedures and appropriate conditions for their reopening in line with government regulations and payment of an administrative fee.
The raid was carried out by the Taskforce 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.