PCN resumes clampdown on counterfeit drugs after 12 years of legal battle
(L-R State Officer of PCN, Amina Shekarau and Northwest Zone Officer, Abubakar Dattijo)
//PCN: Shola Ojo, Kaduna//
Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Kaduna State branch said its resuming clampdown on fake and counterfeit drugs with a view to ensuring rational drug distribution and dispensing of medicines that are safe, effective and of good quality through the state.
It can be recalled that activities of PCN in this regard has been grounded for years due to lingering suit between the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) and the PCN which started since 2014 but has in April this year struck out at the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna. The NAPPMED has challenged the competency of PCN to regulate its activities in court which has given rise to many illegal drug premises across the state while the tissue lasted.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna, PCN Zonal Officer, (North-west), Pharmacist Abubakar Dattijo, lamented that, the regulation of pharmaceutical premises, especially the Patent Medicine Store (PMS) through the Kaduna State Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors Licence (PPMVL) has suffered several setbacks which is responsible largely for the springing up of sales of regulated drugs by unqualified vendors thereby increasing vulnerability.
He was optimistic that now that the court has struck out the the case before it against the regulation of drugs in Kaduna, the organization alongside other taskforce teams in fake and counterfeit drugs will embark on massive sensitization, arrest and prosecution as well as training and retraining where necessary in order to make safer drugs available for Nigerian citizens especially those residing in Kaduna.
According to him, “today, the PCN is glad to announce to the general public that there is presently no binding legal constraint on the PCN to regulate patent vendors practice in Kaduna State because the case in question was heard and determined on the 6th of April 2016 at the Federal high Court Kaduna and subsequently struck out on the ground of incompetence and abuse of court process.
“The PCN is using this medium to sensitize all stakeholders to follow the laws that regulate the practice of Pharmacy in Nigeria as we can no longer tolerate the indiscriminate sale of drugs without submission to regulatory control. Owners of registered PMS who are legitimately carrying out their business and members of public who intend to operate PMS should henceforth follow due process because drugs must heal and not kill”,
He then advised the public to purchase medicines only from confirmed licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed patent and proprietary medicine vendor shops as well as reporting any suspicion drug manufacturers around them to the nearest security enforcement agency.
In her on view, PCN State Officer, Amina Shekarau Omar said time has come for every stakeholders to work together to have safer drugs in the State, “this start with every one of us in the value chain. We also want the general public to raise alarm anytime they see their neighbour who has no former educational background or training in pharmacy but suddenly started distributing drugs as (s)he may be supplying drugs that will add to the pain of the patient instead of offering relief”.