Worried by the nefarious activities of unqualified individuals in the trade and distribution of drugs , House of Representatives has mandated the Federal Ministry of Health and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, to immediately shut down all unregistered pharmaceutical shops within the country and discipline the culprits accordingly.
Pursuant to Act P17 LFN 2004 and other relevant Pharmacy and Drugs Laws of the Federation, the PCN has mandate to inspect, approve and license premises where pharmaceutical activities take place (manufacturing, importation, distribution,wholesale and retail pharmaceutical premises and patent and proprietary medicine vendors shops).
Deliberating on the “need to regulate the establishment of pharmaceutical shops and drug stores” recently, the House urged the “Federal Ministry of Health and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria to commence inspection of all pharmaceutical shops with a view to closing down all those that are not duly registered and to carry out disciplinary measures against the defaulters”.
The House acknowledged the categories of pharmaceutical shops and the scope of their practice as well as the peculiar needs of each in terms of man power, equipment and premises specification but expressed concern that one-room apartment pharmaceutical shops, otherwise known as “chemist shops” exist in all sort of locations and buildings which lack basic facilities and in most cases manned by laymen.
Further, the House observed that some “spiritual and healing homes masquerading as worship centers or charity homes operate freely as drugs and medicines dispensaries, while some local manufacturers of drugs and medicines use all sorts of rickety vehicles to advertise and sell their drugs and medicines”, noting that these unprofessional ways of warehousing, distribution and dispensing of drugs and medicines serve as channels for the infiltration of quacks into the pharmacy profession and a major challenge to public health.
“The infiltration of the pharmaceutical practice by unqualified persons and the attendant unprofessional services being rendered by these people have resulted to the death of countless number of innocent Nigerians, not counting the economic losses due to the supply and purchase of fake, expired and unwholesome drugs and medicine”, the House said.
The Registrar of the PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, expressed gratitude to the House and said the resolution came at a time when the Council had stepped up its enforcement activities.
He acknowledged that it served to strengthen the Council in flushing out the quacks and will help to win the needed peace in the pharmacy practice environment.