Court Dismisses NAPPMED’s Case against PCN

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Martins Ifijeh
The Federal High Court sitting in Akure, has dismissed the suit filed by the Nigeria Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED), against the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).

Delivery judgment in the suit no: FHC/AK/CS/01/2004, which sought to stop the PCN from regulating activities of members of NAPPMED, Justice F.A. Olubanjo dismissed the NAPPMED prayers for lacking in merit.

According to Justice Olubanjo, “I find no merit in this amended originating summons and the reliefs sought therein are refused. The amended originating summons filed on 11/03/15 is dismissed.”

The plaintiffs, NAPPMED and Otunba F.E. Olatunji, had taken the Minister of Health, PCN and the Attorney-General of the Federation to court seeking to stop the PCN from publishing any guideline, rule or condition on the procedure for obtaining the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors License (PPMVL) as contained in the publication of The Punch newspaper of 31/12/2003.

Relying on an earlier ruling of 1996 by Justice Ibrahim Auta in suit no: FHC/L/CS/28/95, the plaintiffs had sought perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further issuing or reverting the authority to issue the PPMVL in the absence of an amendment to the enabling laws, an injunction, if not given, the plaintiffs said would adversely affect the rights of the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors as well as their source of livelihood.

The court observed that the Pharmacy Act on which suit no: FHC/L/CS/28/95 was predicated had been repealed since 1992 by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act and as such the decision of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on it had been overtaken by events. The court further held that the PCN Act 1992 empowers the 2nd Defendant (PCN) to regulate the affairs and functions of pharmacy and matters related to the Pharmacists profession.

“The Federal Minister of Health has the power to make regulations under section 53 of the Pharmacy Act, and has appointed the PCN as the Licensing Authority to issue Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors License in Nigeria, vide a letter dated 14/04/03.”

In his ruling Justice Olubanjo affirmed that by section 36 of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, the Minister of Health has the power to prescribe the 2nd Defendant (PCN) as the licensing authority for the issuance of PPMVL. “Thus the 2nd Defendant is competent to issue and publish guidelines for obtaining the PPMVL,” the judge ruled.