Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), an agency in the Federal Ministry of Health, has sealed 321 Pharmaceutical outlets in Bayelsa State over alleged cases of quackery, non-compliance with regulatory laws and lack of registered personnel to handle medicines in their premises.
Of the 427 outlets inspected, 321 were found to be below operating standard of the PCN which, according to the PCN inspection team, pose a big threat to residents of the state.
Investigations revealed that out of the 321, 36 are Pharmacies, while 285 Pay Per Million Volume stores (PPMVs) all located in Yenagoa, the state capital and its environs.
The Director, Inspection and Monitoring in PCN, Mrs. Anthonia Aruya, who disclosed this after the inspection exercise carried out by the PCN team in a press briefing over the weekend said the affected premises were guilty of improper handling of controlled substances, unhygienic environment and poor documentation and dispensing of ethical/prescription drugs without the presence of a Pharmacist.
According to her, though some 13 pharmacies were given compliance directives for various offences, the inspection tour and seal of affected pharmaceutical stores was the first phase of the process and further action will follow in due course in line with the National Drug Distribution System.
She lamented that in the course of the inspection, the team discovered that many people go into sale of medicine without following due process, “others do not have the requisite knowledge or skills to handle all categories of medicine.
“The PPMVs on the other hand are by law restricted to handle over the counter drugs (OTC) that have proven safety margin.”
She called on the public to always ask for the registration status of facilities by requesting for licences from Pharmaceutical outlets to safeguard themselves from patronising quacks.
Mrs. Aruya noted that it is required by law for all pharmaceutical facilities to register with the PCN and to ensure continuous licensure of same to legally key into the drug distribution value chain.
” The implication of non-licensure is the fact that drugs sold in such facilities cannot be guaranteed to have same quality and efficacy as set by the manufacturer since the unregistered facilities have not been subjected to regulatory control that will promote the maintenance of integrity of such products down the value chain ” she said.