Worried by the serious health danger posed by the activities of drug hawkers and operators of unregistered and unlicensed patent medicine and pharmaceutical stores in Lagos, the State government has called on the members of the public to desist from patronizing these drug hawkers and operators of illegal pharmaceutical outlets as part of effort to rid the State off fake drugs.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. ‘Modele Osunkiyesi who gave the warning recently in her office while reviewing reports of the activities of operators of unregistered and unlicensed pharmaceutical and patent medicines shops, noted that the risks and dangers associated with patronizing drug hawkers and operators of illegal premises are grave and enormous, adding that the act may lead to serious health complications such as kidney damage or death.
According to her, “The attention of the Lagos State Government has been drawn to the nefarious activities of these drug hawkers and illegal pharmaceutical premises dotting the State; such that their operations have called for serious public health concern. The State government is therefore poised to rid the State of fake drugs and operators of illegal pharmaceutical outlets by enforcing compliance with Pharmacy law and regulations”.
Osunkiyesi, who expressed concern particularly on the dangers posed by these illegal operators of patent medicine and pharmaceutical stores in the state, said that it is disheartening that despite the provisions of the law which outlines requirements for registration and renewal of pharmaceutical premises, illegal operators still chose to stay on the wrong side of the law.
While reiterating the state government’s avowed commitment towards sanitizing the drug market as well as stream lining the drug distribution system in the state in order to ensure the safety of the citizenry, the Permanent Secretary disclosed that the State government has mandated its Task Force on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods to comb all nooks and crannies of the state and fish out operators of illegal pharmaceutical and patent medicines shops as well as drug hawkers.
“The Taskforce on Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods have been mandated to enforce government’s stipulated regulation on drug production, importation, manufacture, sales or display for sales, hawking, distribution, adulteration, and possession of drugs by illegal operators”, she explained.
She however urged operators of pharmaceutical shops and patent medicine stores to ensure that their activities are within the ambit of the law regulating their operations, just has she advised members of the public to always purchase their drugs from a duly registered Pharmacy or Patent Medicine Shop recognizable by a signboard indicating that such a Pharmacy or Patent medicine Shop is duly registered and licensed.
“It is important that operators of pharmaceutical shops and patent medicine stores operates within the ambit of the law regulating their operations as the state government would not take it lightly with any operators of pharmaceutical products who disregard the laws of the state”, she said.
Quoting pharmacy laws, She said pharmaceutical premises shall not be located in motor parks, market places including kiosks and road-side stores or any environment where commercial activities and enterprises are in close proximity.
“Pharmaceutical premises shall be sited not less than 200 meters from each other; 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 Authority; while pharmaceutical premises within a shopping center shall not be more than three and shall be well spaced according to the law depending on the size of the complex”, the Permanent Secretary explained.
While noting that patent medicine vendors would no longer be licensed in urban areas, Osunkiyesi reiterated the need for consumers to buy genuine drugs from only duly registered pharmaceutical outlets or patent medicine vendors licensed shops.