COVID-19: PCN laments increase in illegal medicine shops

Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has lamented that the countrywide lockdown occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic has led to increase in illegal medicine shops.

“One of the identified weaknesses in the drug distribution chain is the proliferation of illegal medicine shops which has become worse since the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the council said.

PCN also revealed that it had sealed off no fewer than 499 pharmacies and patent medicine shops in Kwara state.

It added that out of these 326 shops were sealed off in Ilorin, the state capital alone, describing the ‘situation chaotic.’

PCN said that the offences for closing down these premises included operating without registration with PCN, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and poor sanitary conditions.

Addressing reporters in Ilorin, Registrar of the council Elijah Mohammed said that 12 pharmacies and patent medicine shops were issued compliance directives.

Mr. Mohammed represented by PCN Director of Enforcement, Stephen Esumobi said: “The PCN enforcement team has been in the state since the beginning of this week. The aim of the enforcement exercise is to ensure that all premises where medicines are sold are registered, having fulfilled conditions with respect to location, storage facilities, environment, documentation and personnel.

“The local government areas visited by the team include Edu, Ilorin South, Ilorin West, Ilorin East, Offa, Asa and Ifelodun.

“At the end of the Enforcement exercise a total of 687 premises comprising 98 pharmacies and 589 patent medicine shops were visited. A total of 499 premises made up of 30 pharmacies and 469 patent medicine shops were sealed off.

“Since the enforcement activities started, the owners of some of these sealed premises have been complying with relevant regulatory requirements for registration and operation of such premises.”