No fewer than 21 Pharmacies, Patent Medicine shops and unlicensed premises at Alakuko, Ajegunle, Ologogoro, Ijaiye, Abule-Egba, Agbado and Agege in Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye and Agege Local Government areas of Lagos were shut by the Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods for offences bordering on illegal operations and operating beyond the scope of practice.
The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who disclosed this today while reviewing the report of the enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force, stated that the sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores were 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 premises were sealed for operating without a licence, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromise the potency of the drugs thereby rendering them ineffective, amongst others.
He noted that such practices are unacceptable and vowed that the State Government will do whatever is necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators.
The Commissioner, however, stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorised to sell drug products in their original packs or in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies, 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.
Noting that the State Government remains committed to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with pharmaceutical products, Prof. Abayomi maintained that the government will continue to insist on a suitable environment for the dispensation of medical care to promote and maintain good health.
Speaking in the same vein, Acting Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Mosunmola Olufumilola Backley, 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 disclosed that the Task Force, through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate, has been energised to intensify the ongoing 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 sanitise the drug distribution system and curb the proliferation of fake drugs in the State”, Backley 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 for reopening in compliance with government regulations and payment of the administrative fees.
The enforcement and compliance raid by the State Taskforce 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.