Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has disclosed that one of the identified weaknesses in the distribution chain of drugs and medicines is the proliferation of illegal medicine stores as most of them do not have adequate storage facilities.
To forestall being victims of such unregistered stores and their drugs, the Council has advised the public to purchase all medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed patent and propriety medicine shops.
Registrar of the Council, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed who revealed this in Abuja, said the illegal outlets do not have trained personnel to handle the medicines in their premises and this has contributed to irrational dispensing of medicines resulting in the treatment failures and untoward effects on patients and other unsuspecting members of the public who patronise them.
He said: “Also, the activities of these illegal outlets tend to encourage the abuse and misuse of controlled medicines with the attendant negative social and security implications.
“In order to address this challenge, the PCN has stepped up enforcement activities across the country and it’s enforcement team has visited 22 states of the federation and 22 communities within the federal capital territory.
“At the end of the enforcement exercise, a total of 496 premises comprising pharmacies, patent medicine shops and illegal medicine shops were visited. A total of 339 premises made up of 20 pharmacies, 290 illegal medicine shops were sealed for various offences some of which include operating without registration with PCN, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and sanitary conditions among others.”
Meanwhile, the PCN is the federal government parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all aspects and ramifications as established by Decree 91 of 1992.