The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed eight pharmacies and 432 patent medicine shops in Gombe State for various offences. Dr Elijah Mohammed, the council’s Registrar, disclosed this during a press conference in Gombe on Thursday after week-long enforcement. According to Mohammed, the offences for which the premises were sealed include: operating without registration with the council, failure to renew the licences for their premises, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and sanitary conditions. Mohammed who was represented by Mr Stephen Esumobi, the Director of Enforcement of PCN, said that 618 premises comprising: 45 pharmacies and 573 patent medicine stores were visited. He said that 25 pharmacies and patent medicine shops were issued compliance directives. “The aim of the exercise is to ensure that all premises where medicines are sold are registered, having fulfilled conditions with respect to location, storage facilities, environment, documentation and personnel,” he said.
He stated that the council’s enforcement team visited 10 out of the 11 local government areas of the state, adding that only the proposed visit to Nafada was postponed based on security advice. The registrar said that the major weakness in the drug distribution chain was the proliferation of illegal medicine shops within and outside open drug markets. He added that many of the premises inspected did not have appropriate storage facilities thereby exposing stocked medicines to harsh environmental factors such as high temperature and humidity. “Some are exposed to direct sunlight. These conditions caused degradation of medicines thus making many of them (drugs) unsuitable for human consumption,” he said. He stressed that open drug markets had contributed to the adverse security situation in some parts of the country as “ they are the sources of supply of substances of abuse to various people with criminal tendencies.” He said that to address the challenges above, the PCN had stepped up enforcement activities across the country and its enforcement team had visited several states of the federation. Mohammed said the facilities that fulfilled conditions for registration as patent medicine shops would be registered and their owners would be trained on how to handle simple household medicines. He advised the members of the public to purchase their medicines from licensed pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed patent and propriety medicines vendor shops. He assured the members of the public that PCN would sustain the supervision and enforcement to ensure that the drug delivery system is not compromised in the state.