By Felicia Imohimi
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) sealed 4, 219 pharmaceutical premises and two open drug markets in 2020.
The Registrar of the council, Dr Elijah Mohammed, gave the figures in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the measure was targeted at sanitising pharmaceutical practice in order to protect the health of Nigerians.
Giving update of the council’s regulatory activities in 2020, the registrar said that 353 of the premises sealed were pharmacies, while 3, 866 were patent medicines shops.
He said that the council visited a total of 6, 132 premises, comprising 1,104 pharmacies and 5, 028 patent medicines shops.
“In an effort to achieve a well-ordered drug distribution system in the country, PCN closely monitored the development of the Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWCs) across various locations in the country.
“An update of the status of various CWCs was recently forwarded to the minister of health.
“Among the premises sealed by the national enforcement team include those situated within the emerging open drug markets in Owerri and Abakaliki, in November and December 2020.
“Compliance directives were issued to 166 premises, comprising 92 pharmacies and 74 patent medicines shops.
The registrar added that 24 arrests were made and some of the suspects already charged to court while others would be arraigned at the conclusion of investigations.
Mohammed said that due to the COVID-19-induced restrictions, the council sought the permission of the Nigeria Police to enable its enforcement team to move across states.
“In the course of the restriction of movement, the need to control proliferation of illegal pharmaceutical premises became very obvious.
“This is because owners of these premises took advantage of the health crisis to sell all kinds of medicines to the general public through unlicensed outlets,’’ he said.
He said that PCN would step up the enforcement in 2021.
“This is to ensure that medicines sold in premises across the nation remain safe, effective and of good quality,” Mohammed said. (NAN)