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Pharmaceutical Inspectorate committee takes decisive action, shuts down over 100 Illegal Medicine Stores in Kogi State

In a sweeping operation carried out between January and September 2023, the Pharmaceutical Inspectorate Committee (PIC) has taken a resolute stand against illegal medicine stores in Kogi State, closing down more than 100 such establishments. This significant development was revealed by Dr. Lawal Muhammed Omuya, the Vice Chairman of PIC, who also serves as the State Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). The announcement coincided with this year’s World Pharmacist Day, centered around the theme “Pharmacists Strengthening the Health System.”

PIC, comprising members from the PSN, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), and State Ministry of Health staff, spearheaded the crackdown on illegal medicine stores. Dr. Omuya emphasized the committee’s unwavering commitment to eradicating quackery in the state’s pharmaceutical practice, addressing both professional and facility-related aspects of this pressing issue.

“Quackery in pharmaceutical practice can be looked at from professional and facility angles,” Dr. Omuya explained. “On the professional front, it involves individuals, whether educated or not, presenting themselves as pharmacists and attempting to fulfill the role of a pharmacist.”

He continued, “On the other hand, we are also scrutinizing facilities within the community that operate illegally and do not meet the necessary standards for pharmacy practice. These drug stores create a misleading impression of being registered pharmacies, causing unsuspecting individuals to patronize them in the belief that they offer quality drugs and pharmaceutical services.”

Dr. Omuya shed light on the comprehensive approach taken by PIC in collaboration with PSN and PCN to combat quackery. This initiative includes routine monitoring and inspection in all 36 states of the federation, including the FCT. Facilities found to be operating illegally are promptly shut down and sealed. Meanwhile, licensed establishments falling short of expected standards receive “compliance directives” with a specified timeframe to rectify their shortcomings. Failure to meet these requirements results in closure.

The primary objective of these measures is to maintain a high level of integrity and quality in healthcare delivery. Those who engage in unauthorized pharmaceutical practice face legal consequences, a fact underscored by the shutdown of over 100 illegal medicine stores and the arrest of quacks within the year.

Dr. Omuya appealed to the Kogi State Government for collaboration with PSN and PCN to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their operations. He urged the government to provide essential support, including security, transportation, and logistical assistance.

Dr. Omuya took the opportunity of World Pharmacist Day to emphasize the pivotal role of pharmacists in reducing healthcare costs, minimizing wastage, and enhancing health outcomes, all while delivering value for Nigerians’ investments in healthcare. He encouraged residents of Kogi State to consult pharmacists for expert guidance on drug-related matters.

In conclusion, Dr. Omuya emphasized that pharmacists play a crucial role in strengthening the health system through the optimization of medication use and the reduction of medication-related burdens. As World Pharmacist Day is observed annually on September 25th, it commemorates the establishment of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in 1912 and serves as a reminder of the vital contributions of pharmacists to global healthcare. The theme for the day is chosen by the FIP Bureau and guides the World Pharmacists Day campaign led by FIP.

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