Lagos - The Lagos state Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods has shut about 33 illegal pharmacies and patent medicine shops in Ojo area of the state.
According to a release signed by Adeola Salako, Director of Information at the Lagos state Ministry of Health, fake drugs worth millions of Naira were also mopped up during the exercise.
The exercise was a renewed effort to sanitise the drug distribution system and rid the state of the menace of fake and counterfeit drugs.
The release stated that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr Olufemi Onanuga, disclosed this on Monday while reviewing the report of the recent raid in Lagos.
According to Onanuga, the exercise was coming on the heels of the war being waged against fake and expired drugs as well as operators of illegal pharmacies by the state government.
He explained that the 33 outlets were sealed off for various offences which were contrary to the provisions of the law on the operation of Pharmacies and Patent Medicine stores in the state.
Onanuga added that the Task Force had a renewed mandate to comb every nook and cranny of the state to seek out illegal patent medicine shops and pharmacy operators.
He said, "the closure is part of the government’s efforts to rid the state of fake, substandard and illegal drugs’ operators and outlets.
"It is also to ensure high drug quality through sanitation and streamlining of drug distribution system in the state."
Onanuga noted that the sealing of fake pharmaceutical premises was in accordance with the provision of Chapter C34 of the Counterfeit, Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act of 1999, Number 25.
Also read: NAFDAC confiscate drug worth N25m in Warri
Onanuga said, "the raid was also necessitated by the persistent defiance of government's stipulated regulations on drug production, importation, manufacture, sales or display for sales, hawking, distribution, adulteration, and possession of drugs by illegal operators.
"The shops were sealed off for offences ranging from sales of drugs without license from the regulatory authority to failure or refusal to relocate from a market area.
"Some were also sealed off due to non-adherence to the mandated distance between a patent medicine shop and market place as stipulated by the law and sales of counterfeit and fake drugs amongst others."
Onanuga listed some of the affected Patent Medicine Stores and unregistered premises to include Aston H. Pharmacy located at 17, Baale Street and Igbo-Elerin Road.
Others include the Clint Kim and Moore Mart Pharmacy at 38a, Igbo Elerin Road, Bonalink Pharmacy at KM 4, LASU-Isheri Expressway and UNC Choice Supermarket at 40, Great Challenge Road, Iyana Iba.
The Ocean of Life Pharmacy and Stores at 6, Adaloko Road, Abule-Era, Ojo, Dounthing Pharmacy at Unity Estate, Iba Ojo and De Franco Pharm at 40, Oba Goriola Road, Iba New Site were also sealed.
The sealing affected Fitzking Link Pharmacy ,18, Aratumi Road, Iba New Town; Holy Trinity Pharmacy & Stores Ltd. at 12/19, Abule Adaloko Road, Abule Era, Ojo and Augustine Iheneche Pharmacy at 3, Seriki Street, Okokomaiko.
The other shops sealed were the Save Soul Pharmacy at Afromedia Bale Street, Okokomaiko and Concilia Nkiruka Drug Store at 13, Baale Road, Afromedia Ajangbadi.
The Special Adviser expressed concerns over the dangers posed by the nefarious activities of illegal operators of patent medicine and pharmaceutical stores in the state.
He said, "it is important that operators of pharmacies and patent medicine stores operate within the ambit of the law regulating their operations.
"The state government would not take it lightly with any operators of pharmaceutical products who disregard the laws of the state," Onanuga is quoted as saying.
The Task Force’s raid was conducted in conjunction with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) officials and representatives of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).
The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) officials of the Lagos state Ministry of Health and officers of the state Rapid Response Squad also collaborated in the raid.