From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed 308 pharmacies and patent medicines vendors shops across 13 local government areas of Benue State for flouting compliance directives of the Council.
Director of Enforcement Pharm Stephen Esumobi, who disclosed this at a press conference in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, on Thursday evening, said the sealed premises included 56 pharmacies and 252 patent medicines vendors’ shops.
He explained further that the affected pharmacies and medicine shops were sealed for various offences ranging from poor sanitary conditions, poor documentation and non-display of premises and pharmacists’ annual licences.
Esumobi also listed the LGAs where the exercise was carried out to include Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Tarka, Gboko, Ushongo, Otukpo, Ukum, Logo, Oju, Obi and Ohimini.
“Observation from the field indicated that many of the premises commenced operations without approval while a large number of registered premises do not bother to renew their licenses.
“Most of these premises have not met requirements with respect to location, storage and personnel,” Esumobi said, adding that, “due to inadequate storage facilities, medicines are exposed to harsh environmental factors like high temperature and humidity which either degrade or transform them to other biologically active substances that could damage the liver, kidneys or other vital organs.
The Director of Enforcement, who regretted that many of the drugs sold by owners of patent medicines are prescription medicines with a narrow margin of safety, said that if such medicines are not dispensed under the supervision of a pharmacist, they could be harmful to the public.
While noting that the Council will continue to carry out the exercise to ensure that the right things are done, Esumobi commended the Ministry of Health, the media, Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for their continuous collaboration with PCN.