The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, yesterday said it was “very worried” and also warned the public to be “very aware” with the high number of illegal pharmacies and patent medicine stores in Kaduna state, saying its survey so far showed that they may make up 86% of the business in the state.
This was made known at a Press Conference in Kaduna, addressed by Pharm. (Mrs) Anthonia O. Aruya, Director Inspection and Monitoring, PCN, to mark its one week enforcement exercise in the state.
She said: “One of the core mandates of the PCN is ensuring rational distribution and dispensing of medicines that are safe, effective and of good quality to the public.
“Before a pharmaceutical facility commences operation it must fulfill certain conditions in line with the PCN guidelines. First the facility is expected to apply for location approval.
This is because not every location is suitable for Pharmaceutical business.
When the location is approved the premises will put the necessary structure in place for facility inspection.
“Also Pharmacies are expected to have pharmacists to supervise the dispensing of ethical products to members of the public.
“What we observed in Kaduna State is that so many premises commenced operations without fulfilling minimum requirements.
Some of these premises store products in environments where the quality, safety and efficacy of pharmaceutical products cannot be guaranteed.
This exposes the public to serious danger.
Others do not have the requisite knowledge to handle the highly ethical drugs in their facilities.
This exercise is part of efforts by the PCN to reverse this ugly trend and improve on the level of Pharmaceutical services delivery to the good people of Kaduna State.
“At the end of the enforcement exercise a total of 435 premises comprising 44 Pharmacies and 391 Patent Medicine Shops were visited.
“A total of 373 (86%) premises made up of 15 illegal Pharmacies and 358 Patent Medicine Stores were sealed for various offences some of which are operating without registration with Pharmacists council of Nigeria, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor sanitary conditions among others.
“Five(5)arrests were made for offences ranging from obstruction of inspectors and breaking of seal which is a criminal offence.
“The case of Kaduna is a special one, and we are very worried about. The public should also be aware of this.
“The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria cannot guarantee that drugs sold in unregistered outlets are of the same integrity as specified by the manufacturers since they have not submitted to regulation that ensures maintenance of minimum standards for handling such products.”
“Members of the public should ensure that any pharmacy of patent medicine store they are buying drugs from, display their certificate of registration and the emblem or logo.”