The Lagos State Government has shut down 34 medicine outlets in Shomolu, Bariga, Gbagada and Ifako areas of Shomolu and Kosofe Local Government areas, as well as in Bale and Savage Streets in Coker/Aguda Local Council Development Area of the State, for non-compliance with regulatory standards.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, spoke on the development while reviewing the report on monitoring, inspection and enforcement exercises carried out by the Lagos State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food, explaining that the affected outlets were shut down for contravening regulations guiding the operations of sale of medicines in the State.
He said: “The sealing of the affected medicine outlets was in accordance with the provisions of Section C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1999”.
Abayomi explained further that the affected premises were sealed for offences including inappropriate storage conditions of drugs, unskilled persons handling and dispensing drugs, sale of drugs by illegal shopowners, stocking of expired drugs and sale of drugs in market places.
While noting that the sale of medicines is only allowed in registered and licensed outlets, he pointed out that patent medicine vendors are authorised to sell drug products only in their original and approved pack size as produced by the manufacturing companies.
The Commissioner averred that the law prohibits patent medicine vendors and licensed pharmaceutical premises from operating beyond their scope, stating that the recent operation was a follow up to the rejigged enforcement exercise by the task force to sanitise the drug distribution chain in Lagos State.
His words: “The Task Force enforcement activities in Shomolu and Bariga LGA was a follow up to previous enforcement exercises conducted in the axis in October aimed at full compliance. The revisit revealed a significant success in the war against fake drugs and illegal drug shops in Lagos as 16 shops earlier sealed have evacuated and are no longer involved in the illegal sale of drugs”.
“The November enforcement exercise at Savage and Bale Streets in Coker-Aguda LCDA was to prevent clustering of drug outlets, which are havens for fake drugs. It is worthy to mention that 13 out of 14 outlets visited were sealed, one of the sealed premises was found to be stocking expired drugs which are hazardous to the health of residents”, he explained.
Abayomi promised that the activities of the State Task Force on Fake Drugs would not only be sustained but intensified until stakeholders in the pharmaceutical value chain appreciate the need to adhere strictly to the provisions of the law.
Speaking in the same vein, the Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry, Mrs. Oyebisi Omolambe, said that the State Government will 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 ongoing 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”, she said.
The enforcement and compliance raid by the State Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods was carried out in collaboration with the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists’ Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Federal Taskforce on fake drugs and the Police Officers from Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Task Force) of Lagos Police Command.