By Isaiah Eka
Uyo – The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) says it sealed 397 patent medicine shops and 42 pharmacies in Akwa Ibom for operating without registration and failure to renew premises license.
The PCN Registrar, Mr Elijah Mohammed, announced this to newsmen in Uyo on Friday.
Represented by Mr Stephen Esumobi, the council’s Director of Enforcement, Mohammed said the one-week exercise was carried out by the National Enforcement Team.
He added that the exercise was to ensure that standards were maintained.
Mohammed said that the premises sealed were also dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist.
He said that the patent shops were selling medicine outside the approved list and had poor storage and sanitary conditions amongst others.
The registrar said that the council also inspected 600 premises, comprising 118 pharmacies and 482 patent medicine shops in its latest round of enforcement exercise in 13 local government areas of the state.
“One of the identified weaknesses in the drug distribution chain is the proliferation of illegal medicine shops that have become worsened since the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of these premises still do not have appropriate storage facilities, thereby exposing medicines to harsh environmental factors like high temperature and humidity.
“Some other medicines that are photosensitive are also exposed to direct sunlight.
“These conditions cause degradation of medicines, thus making many of them harmful,’’ Mohammed said.
According to him, these illegal outlets do not have pharmacists to handle ethical medicines on their premises.
“This has contributed immensely to irrational dispensing of medicines, resulting in treatment failures and untoward effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronise them.
“Those reasons, and more, are why the pharmacist council stepped up enforcement.’’
He noted that the exercise was not to punish medicine dealers but to correct and help them practice according to laid down standards.
The registrar regretted that Uyo, which used to be among the most compliant state capitals in Nigeria, has witnessed increase in unsafe pharmaceutical practises.
He warned that those who break their seals would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly. (NAN)