By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods has shut 16 illegal, substandard and unregistered pharmacies, patent medicine stores and premises.
The facilities were shut at Ajegunle and Alaba Suru axis of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this on Tuesday, while reviewing the report of the monitoring, inspection and enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate of the Ministry of Health, stated that the sealing of the affected facilities was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999.
Abayomi explained that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops were sealed for offences bordering on operations without a license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through the sale of ethical products and displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs, rendering them ineffective.
The commissioner, however, stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell drug products in their original and approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies noting that the law prohibits wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors and prohibits wholesalers from retailing drugs.
While noting that the recent operation of the taskforce was coming on the heels of the war being waged against fake drugs and illegal drug shops, Abayomi warned that the activities of the State Task Force on Fake Drugs would not only be sustained but intensified until operators in the sector adhere strictly to the provisions of the law on the running of pharmacies and patent medicine shops, in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
He stressed that the state government remained committed to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drug and would continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.
Also, Director Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry, Dr Mosunmola Beacley, 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 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,” she said.
Beckley disclosed 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.
The enforcement exercise 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.