Pharmacists Council of Nigeria shuts down 30,000 illegal drug stores

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The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has announced the closure of more than 30,000 illegal and unregistered drug stores in Nigeria within the last six years.

The closure was aimed at combating the menace of substandard and falsified medical products which have infiltrated the Nigerian pharmaceutical market.

According to the Registrar of the PCN, Babashehu Ahmed, the circulation of substandard drugs was partly due to unregistered drug operators. He stressed that the drug distribution network in Nigeria must be better regulated.

Speaking at a two-day workshop on ‘Combating the Menace of Substandard and Falsified Medical Products’ in Lagos, Ahmed stated that PCN’s enforcement unit has dislodged over 30,000 unregistered drug stores since its establishment in 2017.

Ahmed noted that the PCN’s efforts to curb the sale of substandard drugs must be supported by the Federal Task Force to remove unregistered drug operators from the system.

“No facility is authorized to distribute medicines unless duly approved and licensed by PCN. Most of those involved in the circulation of sub-standard and falsified drugs are not registered. We have stepped up our enforcement activities. We also need to strengthen the federal task force to support the enforcement arms of PCN and NAFDAC to take these people out of the system,” Ahmed said.

Despite the closure of 30,000 unregistered drug stores, Ahmed noted that many others are still operating in open drug markets in Sabongari (Kano State), Idumota (Lagos State), Overhead Bridge (Onitsha, Anambra State), and Ariaria (Aba, Abia State).

He expressed hope that the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines, which provides for Coordinated Wholesale Centres (CWC), would help to eliminate the major source of substandard medications in Nigeria