The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Oyo State Branch, and the state’s lawmakers are at loggerheads over the passage of the Veterinary Practice Premises Registration Regulation 2018 into law by the Oyo State House of Assembly.
The pharmacists believe that the law, which is meant to regulate the sale, storage, and dispensing of animal drugs in the state, contradicts legislation at the National Assembly level.
Shortly after the passage of the law, the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had sealed FinRel Pharmacy Supermarket and Bakery, in Ibadan, stating that the company violated the new regulation.
The association noted during a recent press conference, held at its secretariat in Ibadan, the state capital, that the law passed by the Oyo State House of Assembly undermines the Federal Government’s exclusive authority over drugs.
Speaking at the conference, Pharm. Adebayo Gbadamosi, chairman, ACPN, Oyo State, described the new law as an affront, stressing that only the Federal Government, through the National Assembly, has the power to legislate and determine who sells drugs.
The ACPN chairman, accompanied by other members of the association and Pharm. Adegboyega Oguntoye, the state’s chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), urged the police and other security agencies not to assist the agriculture ministry in promoting illegality.
While calling on the State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, to intervene in the matter, he maintained that the harassment of members of the association by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development could lead to a crisis in the state.
He said, “The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), a technical arm of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), finds it necessary to address the general public regarding the improper actions of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), through the officials of the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“These actions have been taken against members of ACPN, using the Veterinary Practice Premises Registration Regulation 2018. This law was passed by the Oyo State House of Assembly without going through the appropriate process of public hearing and input from the various sectors of the state that would be affected by the law.”
Gbadamosi continued, “Certain sections of this law passed by the Oyo State House of Assembly infringe upon the National Assembly’s exclusive legislation, which cannot be superseded by the Oyo State House of Assembly legislation.
“Drug matters, similar to national security, fall under the exclusive legislation of the Federal Government. This includes both human and animal medicines. Only the National Assembly has the authority to legislate on such matters. If any state attempts to do so, the National Assembly’s provisions naturally take precedence. State Houses of Assembly have the power to legislate on matters within the concurrent legislative list, but not when it comes to drugs.
“Community pharmacists remain steadfast and trust in the outcome of the court case. However, if the Veterinary Council, in any form, interferes with our premises without waiting for the court’s verdict, we may take matters into our own hands to defend ourselves.
“Furthermore, we call on the Oyo State Commissioner of Police and all other security agencies to refrain from assisting the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture in achieving illegitimate purposes concerning our premises. As law-abiding citizens, we will comply with the court’s verdict once it is reached.”
According to the ACPN helmsman, only the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), a federal government agency, has the mandate to determine who is qualified and premises where human and animal drugs are manufactured, stored, sold and dispensed. He added that the PCN is the governmental agency that registers all pharmacies, including those of his members, throughout Nigeria.