The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria-PCN and the Anambra State Government have performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a Coordinated Wholesale Center (CWC) in Anambra state, where the popular Onitsha head bridge open drug market will be relocated to.
The new Registrar of the PCN, Mr. Babashehu Ahmed who announced this at his Maiden press briefing said it was a development worthy of celebration due to the delay the project suffered since approval in 2016 until the intervention of the state Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo.
“The issue with the very popular Onitsha head bridge drug market has been the result of differences among the stakeholders. But we have been meeting with the Anambra State Government on the need to bring these poeple together to ensure that we move fast with this project. Unfortunately, we did not get what we wanted. But we are happy that within three months that Prof Chukwuma Soludo came on board, he went through our brief and saw the need to move quickly to ensure that what is happening in other locations granted approval also happens in Anambra state. And precisely he was sworn in March 17th, and three months after, June 17, he invited us to Anambra, the Governor performed the ground breaking ceremony at the approved site of the new CWC in Oba where Medicine dealers in the head bridge market Onitsha will be relocated to. The PCN will render all technical and regulatory assistance to ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated two years Projected by the developer. “
Mr. Ahmed said the Coordinated Whole Sale Center (CWC) in Kano, where the Sabongeri open Drug market in Kano will be relocated has been completed and is awaiting commissioning.
According to the Registrar, the construction of the same Center for Idumota open drug market, Lagos was nearing completion while that of Ariaria open drug Market, Abia State will soon come on board.
Mr Ahmed stated that efforts are on to ensure that all medicine dealers in open drug markets in the country are relocated to Coordinated Wholesale Centers (CWCs) in line with the National Drug Distribution Guidelines.
Mr Ahmed also spoke on his agenda as PCN Registrar, which is to strengthen the National Enforcement Team and also reposition the Pharmaceutical Inspection, Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors Committees in the states to enhance monitoring, inspection, and enforcement Nationwide.
On the assessment of Foreign-trained Pharmacists, Mr Ahmed explained that the PCN had a clearly laid-down procedure of accreditation before they are admitted into the Registry to protect the interest of public health.
He stated that the PCN even goes as far as accessing the quality of training given to the foreign-trained Pharmacists by visiting such countries, especially schools that are highly patronised..
Speaking on the current enforcement exercise in FCT, during which a total of five hundred and eighty-four (584) premises were visited, comprising one hundred and eighty-five (185) Pharmacies and three hundred and ninety-nine (399) Patent Medicine Shops, the Registrar announced that a total of three hundred and fifty-eight (358) premises made up of ninety (90) Pharmacies and two hundred and sixty-eight (268) Patent Medicine Shops were sealed for various offences.
“Some of which include operating without registration with Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, failure to renew premises license, dispensing ethical products without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor storage and sanitary conditions among others while five Pharmacies and Patent Medicine Shops were issued compliance directives. Four patent medicine vendors were arrested. Three of them were arrested for breaking PCN seals and one for displaying fake patent medicines vendor licence in his shop”.
Mr Ahmed said that the Abuja Zonal Office of the PCN has been directed to give necessary guidance to all those wishing to engage in pharmaceutical business within the FCT to ensure that they do so in line with the laws and regulations regarding the Profession.
The Registrar, therefore, advised Members of the public to purchase their medicines from licensed Pharmacies and simple household remedies from licensed Patent and Propriety Medicines Vendors shops.
Mr Babashehu Ahmed then urged the PCN licensed Pharmacies and Patent Medicine shops to display their licenses or evidence of registration conspicuously within the premises, for easy identification.
Reporting by Maureen Eke, editing by Daniel Adejo