Nigerian Government extends deadline on open drug markets

Isola Moses

The Federal Government of Nigeria has reportedly extended the deadline for the national shutdown of open drugs markets by a year.

Agency report indicates this development might have given drug distributors and other stakeholders an opportunity to firm up arrangements for a seamless transition.

The Federal Government had earlier fixed December 31, 2019, for the shutdown of open drugs markets and transition to Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWC), as continued in the new National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).

Source said indications emerged that the government might have extended the deadline to December 31, 2019, after operators of open drugs markets and other stakeholders engaged regulatory agencies on the plan and feasibility of a seamless transition.

Industry sources confirmed that government and industry stakeholders had reached agreement on the extension of the deadline in view of the current efforts being made for compliance.

The regulated CWCs system was designed as an alternative to the chaotic open drug markets as part of efforts at eradicating fake and substandard drugs in the country.

Under the new arrangement, the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN), the industry self-regulatory organisation (SRO) and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) are expected to commence enforcement of the ban on open sale of drugs as from 2021.

As regards the capital intensive nature of the project, implementation of the NDDG policy was reported to have been extended twice to allow dealers in various states of the Federation ample time to construct structures that meet global standards.

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