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Lagos shuts down 16 substandard pharmacies, patent medicine stores

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THE Lagos State government has shut down 16 illegal, substandard and unregistered pharmacies and patent medicine stores at Ajegunle and Alaba Suru axis of Ajeromi Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state.

According to Akin Abayomi, state’s commissioner for health, the exercise was carried out by the Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods in the state.

Abayomi said the sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999.

He explained that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops were sealed for offences bordering on operations without licenses; engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens; operating beyond scope through the sale of ethical products, as well as displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments, thereby compromising the potency of the drugs while rendering them ineffective.

The commissioner, however, stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors were authorised to sell drug products in their original and approved pack sizes as produced by the manufacturing companies, noting that the law prohibited wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors and retailing of drugs by wholesalers.

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While noting that the recent operation of the taskforce was coming on the heels of the war being waged against fake drugs and illegal drug shops, Abayomi warned that the activities of the task force would not only be sustained but intensified until operators in the sector adhered strictly to the provisions of the law on the running of pharmacies and patent medicine shops, in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.

He stressed that the state government remained committed to halting the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drugs and would continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.

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Speaking in the same vein, Mosunmola Beckley, director of pharmaceutical services in Lagos State Ministry of Health, said that the state government would not relent in its efforts to stop the inherent dangers associated with the activities of unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets and drug shops.

She added that the task force had been re-energised to intensify the on-going war against fake, expired and substandard drugs being peddled by unlicensed and illegal drug stores.

“This closure is thus part of the government’s renewed efforts to sanitise the drug distribution system and curb proliferation of fake drugs in the state,” she said.

Beckley disclosed 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 notify them of the procedures and appropriate conditions to be met for reopening in line with government regulations.

The enforcement exercise 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.

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