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PCN seals 313 illegal medicine stores in Rivers

Rivers State map

The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria has sealed 313 illegal patent medicine shops and 33 unregistered pharmacies in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and its environs.

The council said the clampdown was made when its national enforcement team visited the state, where about 386 patent medicine shops in three local government areas were inspected.

The Director and Head of the Enforcement Department in PCN, Stephen Esumobi, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at his office in Port Harcourt on Thursday evening.

Esumobi said over the years, PCN had established structures in states for effective engagement and regulation of stakeholders in the drug distribution chain across the country.

He further said the Pharmaceutical Inspection Committees and Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendor Committees engaged and sensitized stakeholders on the need to comply with relevant regulations.

Esumobi expressed dismay that despite the council’s efforts in Rivers State, many patent medicine shop owners and other stakeholders have chosen to operate with total disregard for public safety.

He said, “Most patent vendors are not registered with PCN and engage in activities far beyond their scope, thereby endangering public health.

“The national enforcement team has been in the state since the beginning of the week. At the end of the exercise, 543 premises were visited.

“These comprise 386 patent medicine shops and 157 pharmacists. A total of 379 premises were sealed, comprising 66 pharmacies and 313 patent medicine shops.

“It will interest you to note that we have been to only three local government areas; Port Harcourt city, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre, for now.

Other offences which attracted the PCN hammer, Esumobi said, were poor access control to the “poison cupboards, poor storage facilities, stocking and sale of prescription and other ethical products by patent medicine vendors.”

He explained that ethical products have a very low margin of safety, adding, “Most times, when they are not dispensed under the supervision of the pharmacist, it could endanger the health of the patient.

The PCN head of the enforcement department advised members of the public to source all their drug needs from registered and currently licensed pharmacies.

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