By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
No fewer than 52 pharmacies, patent medicine shops and unlicensed premises have been sealed by the Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods.
Their offences, according to report bordered on illegal operation, operating beyond scope amongst others.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves disclosed that the facilities are located at Isolo, Egbeda, Ikotun, Bariga, Somolu in Oshodi-Isolo, Alimosho and Somolu Local government areas of Lagos, adding that they were sealed envelope on August 7, 2019.
Speaking when she received the report of the operation by the Task Force, Conclaves explained that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops indulged in the practice of operating without license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products and displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromise the potency and integrity of the drugs rendering them ineffective.
“Although some of the pharmacies visited were registered, it is disheartening to note that quite a number of them had no qualified pharmacists on duty and displayed expired drugs for sale to the public”, She said.
Goncalves added that some of the premises visited also engaged in illegal clinical practices such as patient admission and setting of intravenous infusions. She noted that such practice is unacceptable and vowed that the State Government will do whatever is necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators.
“ The sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999, No. 25”, She said.
The Permanent Secretary stated that licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell only drug products in their original packs in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies. “The law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors,” She said.
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, Goncalves 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 operation of pharmacies and patent medicine shops, in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
Speaking in the same vein, Director Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo 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” Adejumo 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 Task force 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.