A Patent Medicine Store

Consumer Safety: PCN shuts 469 patent medicine stores over substandard products, clinical services

*The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria discloses the affected sealed medicine stores were engaging in selling sub-standard drugs and rendering harmful clinical services in Bauchi State

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

As a measure to protect consumers’ well-being, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed off about 469 unlicensed pharmacies and patent medicine shops in 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Bauchi State.

ConsumerConnect reports Stephen Esumobi, Director and Head of Enforcement Department, National Headquarters of PCN, Abuja, FCT, disclosed this development at a press conference at the North-East Zonal Office of the Council, in Bauchi.

Esumobi said that the sealed medicine stores were engaging in selling sub-standard drugs along with those that engaged in clinical services.

The shops would remain shut until they meet the industry minimum requirements.

The PCN Director and Head of Enforcement Department also noted the PCN, as a Federal Government parastatal, is charged with the responsibility of regulating the education, training and practice of pharmacy in all its aspects and ramification as established by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Act, Cap p17, LFN, 2004 (formerly Decree 91 of 1992).

Esumobi further explained the PCN Enforcement Team had visited some  premises of the medicine stores across some Local Government Areas in the state in 2019 and sealed off some of them who were operating without registration with the Council, and the registered ones who failed to renew their certificates.

According to the Council,  owners of the sealed premises were given an opportunity to fulfil conditions for registration pointing out that after most of them fulfilled conditions for registration, their premises were reopened.

He stated: “The Council took pains to sensitise Patent Medicine Vendors and other medicine dealers on the need to continue complying with regulations in the interest of public health.

“During the orientation and continuing education programmes, vendors were taught how to handle simple household (over-the-counter) medicines to ensure that products remained safe, effective and of good quality throughout their self life.”

Esumobi also said: “Despite the efforts of PCN, so many premises returned to their old ways because of financial gains.

“While some premises took steps to operate in line with regulations, so many others have chosen to operate in breach of it. “Many products in these erring premises may no longer be fit for human consumption due to poor handling.”

The PCN Director noted: “The exposure of these products to adverse environmental factors like high temperature, humidity and direct sunlight could compromise their quality, safety, and efficacy.

“It is in the light of the above that the Council had no other option than to reseal these premises during the current national enforcement exercise.

“The Local government Areas visited include the following: Bauchi, Toro, Katagum, Alkaleri, Kirfi, Misau, Zaki, Gamawa, Giade, Shira, Jamaare, Itas, Ganjuwa, Ningi, Dass, Tafawa Balewa, Bogoro and Darazo.”

He as well said: “At the end of the exercise, a total of five hundred and ninety eight (598) premises were visited.

“This comprises five hundred and fifty-seven (557) Patent Medicines Shops (PMS) and forty-one (41) Pharmacies.

“A total of four hundred and sixty nine (469) premises were sealed comprising twenty three (23) pharmacies and four hundred and forty six (446) Patent Medicines Shops.

“Thirteen (13) compliance directives were issued for various offences such as poor sanitary conditions, poor documentation and non-display of premises and pharmacists annual licences.”

The Council restated: “It is against the guidelines for patent medicine stores to engage in clinical services because they don’t have the capacity to handle some of these cases and when there is any side effects from those drugs, they don’t have the facilities to handle them.”

Esumobi, therefore, cautioned that any manufacturer who sells drugs to an unauthorised dealer has committed a very big offence and would be prosecuted, if found guilty.

The Council has been doing its best to curb the menace, he stated.

The Director added: “When you block them this way, they find another way. It calls for a continuous enforcement and monitoring.

“That’s what we’ll continue to do.

“We try to encourage them to do the right thing so that our people will access drugs that are safe, effective and of good quality but for those that are recalcitrant, their premises will remain closed.

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