The Lagos State Government has shut down 30 illegal patent medicine outlets in Lekki area of Lagos, southwest Nigeria.
Officials of the Lagos State Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods stormed the area at the weekend and sealed the patent medicine stores for operating without license while it alerted members of the public on the risks and dangers of purchasing drugs from hawkers.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina who disclosed this, said the state government was not only worried about the dangers posed by illegal drug hawkers but also by the nefarious activities of illegal operators of patent medicine and pharmaceutical stores in Lagos, hence the latest clampdown on illegal operators in Ajah-Lekki axis.
“The drug distribution system in Lagos would get worse if the activities of illegal drug operators are allowed to continue unchecked as more people will get harmed by their nefarious activities. The Victoria Island-Ajah-Lekki raid was necessitated by the excesses of illegal drug operators in that axis and the resolve of government to streamline activities of operators in the drug sector,” she said in a statement.
The special adviser vowed that government would do all it could to stop the inherent dangers associated with drugs sold at unauthorised outlets by undertaking periodic raids, adding that government recognises the menace posed by fake drugs and the attendant influence of open drug market.
“The shops were sealed off for offences ranging from sale of drugs without license from the regulatory authority to failure to relocate from a market area/adherence to the mandated distance between a patent medicine shop and market place as stipulated by the law; and sale of counterfeit and fake drugs among others,” she said.
Adeshina added that government was committed to streamlining the drug distribution system in the state in order to ensure the safety of the citizenry, hence the mandate given the Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods to comb all nooks and crannies of the state for illegal operators.
“By the provision of the pharmaceutical laws, pharmaceutical premises cannot be located in motor parks, environment where commercial activities are standing and growing very close together, Market places including kiosks and road-side stores, buses and ferries”.
“Any pharmaceutical premises surrounded or covered completely by a growing market or standing close to it, shall relocate to another suitable location two years after formal notification to do so by the regulatory authorities, while pharmaceutical premises within a shopping centre shall not be more than three, and shall be well spaced out depending on the size of the complex,” she explained.
She advised all intending pharmacy operators and patent medicine vendors to liaise with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the Directorate of Pharmaceutical Services at the State Ministry of Health to get proper documentation and permit before they operate a medicine or pharmaceutical store, adding also that those interested in importation, distribution and sales of drugs to get their premises licensed by the appropriate authority which is the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
The affected drug stores are Jott Care Drug Store, Chimako Drug Store, St. Michael Plaza, Mokolade Pharmacy, Jemivida Health Way Pharmacy, Okonkwo Chidiebere Pharmacy, Blenco Supermarket, Precious Investment of E.O.L.G 9, Joe Drug at E.O.L.G 3, among others.