//PCN: Shola Ojo, Kaduna//
Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) in Kaduna over the weekend read riot act to pharmacists and patent medicine stores operators and sealed 373 illegal ones for offences ranging from operating without registration, non renewer of license to dispensing controlled drugs without supervision.
PCN is the Federal Government Parastatal charged with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all its aspects and ramifications as established by Decree 91 of 1992 now Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act Cap P17, LFN, 2004.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna, Director, Inspection and Monitoring PCN, Abuja, Pharmacist Anthonia Aruya, also hinted that five arrests were made for offences ranging from obstruction of inspectors and breaking of seal which she described as a criminal offence.
According to her, Kaduna happened to be the 13th state where the national enforcement is taking place adding that, the organization has been taking people to court and even employ alternative dispute resolution where necessary once there is readiness to comply to international accepted best practice.
She said, “a total of 373 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.
“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.
“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. The facility inspection is carried out to ensure that the right storage environment is maintained to preserve the pharmacological and pharmacokinetic integrity of the medicines.
“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 or knowhow 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”, she noted.
She stressed further that, PCN enforcement teams have been in Kaduna State from the beginning of the week, saying the teams visited places like Barnawa, Mando, Kawo, Hanyin Banki, Unguwan Muazu, Kikinau, Sabo, Kakuri, Makera, Unguwan Dosa, Badarawa, Unguwan Sanusi, Badiko, Tundun Wada, Kamazo among others.
She however expressed satisfaction with turnouts of owners of unregistered facilities that have been visiting the Kaduna zonal office to regularize their registration status since the commencement of the exercise.
At the end of the enforcement exercise a total of 435 premises comprising 44 Pharmacies and 391 Patent Medicine Shops were said to have been visited.