By Martins Ifijeh
No fewer than 21 pharmacies, patent medicine shops and unlicensed premises at Alakuko, Ajegunle, Ologogoro, Ijaiye, Abule-Egba, Agbado and Agege in Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye and Agege local government areas of Lagos were shut by the Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods for offences bordering on illegal operation and operating beyond scope of practice.
Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi who disclosed this yesterday while reviewing report of the enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force stated that 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.
Abayomi explained that the affected premises were sealed for offences including; operating without license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products, displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs there by rendering them ineffective amongst others.
He noted that such practices are unacceptable and vowed that the state government will do whatever is necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators.
The commissioner however stressed that only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorised to sell only drug products in their original packs in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies noting that the law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors and also prohibits wholesalers operating outside their scope by selling drugs in retail.
“The state government remains committed to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel deal with pharmaceutical products adding that government will continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.”
Speaking in the same vein, the acting Director Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs. Backley Mosunmola Olufunmilola said that the State Government will not relent in its efforts to stop the inherent dangers associated with the operations from unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets and drug shops.
She added that the task force through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate has been re-energised to intensify the on-going war against fake, expired and substandard drugs being peddled by unlicensed and illegal premises.
“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” Backley said.