No fewer than 52 pharmacies, patent medicine shops and unlicensed premises at Isolo, Egbeda, Ikotun, Bariga and Somolu in Oshodi-Isolo, Alimosho and Somolu Local Government areas of Lagos were sealed recently by the Lagos State Task force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods for offences bordering on illegal operation, operating beyond scope amongst others.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves, who disclosed this when she received the report of the operation by the task force, explained that the affected pharmacies and patent medicine shops indulged in the practice of operating without license, engaging unqualified persons to man and dispense drugs to unsuspecting citizens, operating beyond scope through sale of ethical products and displaying and storing drugs in conducive environments, which compromise the potency and integrity of the drugs rendering them ineffective.
“Although some of the pharmacies visited were registered, it is disheartening to note that quite a number of them had no qualified pharmacists on duty and displayed expired drugs for sale to the public,” she said.
Goncalves added that some of the premises visited also engaged in illegal clinical practices, such as patient admission and setting of intravenous infusions. She noted that such practice is unacceptable and vowed that the State Government will do whatever is necessary to enforce the law and sanction erring operators.
“The sealing of the affected pharmacies and patent medicine stores was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999, No. 25,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary stated that licensed patent medicine vendors are authorised to sell only drug products in their original packs in approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies.
“The law prohibits dispensing and wholesaling of drugs by patent medicine vendors,” he said.
While noting that the recent operation of the task force was coming on the heels of the war being waged against fake drugs and illegal drug shops, Goncalves warned that the activities of the State Task Force on Fake Drugs would not only be sustained, but also intensified until operators in the sector adhere strictly to the provisions of the law on the operation of pharmacies and patent medicine shops, in order to safeguard the health of the citizenry.
Speaking in the same vein, Director, Pharmaceutical Services, in the Ministry, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo, said the state government would not relent in its efforts to stop the inherent dangers associated with the operations from unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets and drug shops.
She added that the task force through the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Unit (PIU) of the Pharmaceutical Services Directorate, has been re-energised to intensify the on-going war against fake, expired and substandard drugs being peddled by unlicensed and illegal premises.
“This closure is thus part of the government’s renewed efforts to sanitise the drug distribution system and curb proliferation of fake drugs in the state,” he said.