By Modupe Shodeinde
The Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods closed 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 on Tuesday.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, while reviewing the report of the monitoring, inspection and enforcement exercise carried out by the Task Force through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate of the Ministry of Health.
According to him, the closure of the facilities is 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 a license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through the sale of ethical products and displaying and storing drugs in unconducive environments which compromises the potency of the drugs, rendering them ineffective.
Abayomi emphasised that only licensed patent medicine vendors are authorized to sell drug products in their original and approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies noting that the law prohibits wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors and prohibits wholesalers from retailing drugs.
He reiterated on the commitment of the state government towards stopping the trend of having unqualified personnel deal with drug.
He warned that the activities of the State Task Force on Fake Drugs would be sustained and intensified until operators in the sector adhere 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.
Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry, Dr Mosunmola Beacley, also reiterated 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 the closure of the affected facilities is part of government’s renewed efforts to sanitize the drug distribution system and curb proliferation of fake drugs in the state.
Beacley made it known that 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 to notify them of the procedures and appropriate conditions to be met for reopening in line with government regulations.