The Lagos State Government has shut down 27 unregistered pharmacies and patent medicine shops in Ojo Local Government Area of the State in an effort to rid the State of fake drugs and illegal drug shops.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga disclosed this in his office at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja shortly after the operation by the State Task force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods whose members include; representatives of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Federal Taskforce on fake drugs and Officers of the State Rapid Respond Squad (RRS).
Onanuga who mentioned that the operation was the first outing this year, confirmed that 27 out of the 31 outlets visited in Ojo-Igbede, Ajangbadi, Ketu-Ayetoro, Iyana Era, Iyana Iba and Isashi as well as Seriki, Kembiri, Iba, Adaloko and Okokomaiko in Ojo Local Government Area of the State were sealed off for various offences including engagement of quacks to man community pharmacies and operating beyond scope by licensed patent medicine shops through sale of ethical products and dispensing drugs to unsuspecting citizens.
Other offenses are the illegal operation of unregistered premises, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromise the potency and integrity of the drugs products rendering them ineffective.
He lamented that though some of the pharmacies visited were registered, 95 percent of them had no qualified Pharmacists on ground to attend to the public resulting in the display of expired drugs for sale to the public.
He revealed that some of these premises also engaged in illegal clinical practices such as patient admission and drip setting of intravenous infusions.
“This is unacceptable. We as a government will do the needful in terms of enforcing the law and sanctioning erring operators”, he remarked.
Onanuga explained that the sealing of these pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Chapter C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act of 1999, No. 25.
“Licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell only drug products in their original packs in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies. The law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors,” he said.
He warned that the activities of the State Task Force on Fake Drugs would not only be sustained but intensified until operators in the sector adhere strictly to the provisions of the law on the operation of pharmacies and patent medicine shops, in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
The Special Adviser hinted that an investigative meeting would be held later in the week at the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit of the Ministry where members of the Task Force would meet with the 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 to be met for reopening in line with government regulations and payment of administrative fee.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Segun Olulade who also monitored the operation said that the State government would not relent in its resolve to rid the State of fake drugs and stem the proliferation of illegal pharmaceutical outlets to guarantee the good health of Lagosians.