Determined to rid Ondo State of fake and counterfeit drugs, the state task force on fake and counterfeit drugs from the Ministry of Health has sealed off no fewer than seven pharmaceutical stores in Akure, the state capital.
The pharmaceutical stores were sealed off over various offences ranging from non-possession of operational licenses,sale of controlled and expired drugs and storing of drugs in unconducive environments among other sharp practices.
At a patient medicine store located along Oda road in Akure,the enforcement team observed that controlled and expired drugs were kept in the toilet. Also at another patient medicine store in Oda town,the proprietor of the store was arrested for selling controlled drugs especially tramadol.
Members of the task force said they visited the shop last year and discovered that the proprietor sells such banned and ethical drugs adding that he was thereafter cautioned against engaging in such sharp practices.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Pharmacist(Mrs.) Folukemi Aladenola said the enforcement exercise is geared towards eradicating the menace of fake and counterfeit drugs in Ondo State.
Aladenola added that the operation became necessary as a result of the proliferation and usage of unrecommended and controlled drugs ignorantly purchased from unregistered pharmaceutical stores among the populace.
The Permanent Secretary lauded the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN-led administration for giving the Ministry the necessary support towards ensuring that the incidences of fake and counterfeit drugs is eliminated in Ondo State.
She added that the exercise which is a routine one in the Ministry would be a continuous exercise charging the task force to be resolute in their operations.
The Director, Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health, Pharmacist Gbenga Lasekan stated that as a result of the high demand for drugs, some unscrupulous people have resorted to selling fake and counterfeit drugs, a situation that has resulted in several failed medical treatments. Lasekan noted that the target of the task force is to eliminate the incidence of treatment failures as a result of fake and counterfeit drugs as many people have become victims of fake and counterfeit drugs.
He said the enforcement team is determined to make Ondo State a good place where people can be so sure that they will get genuine drugs for the treatment of their diseases.
On the fate of the drugs sellers sanctioned, Lasekan said the committee would meet to determine their fate based on their respective offences saying the role of the Ministry of Health is to coordinate the activities of the various agencies in order to ensure that justice is dispensed.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN),Ondo State Chapter, Pharmacist Eniola Akindeko said the task force which is made up of regulative agencies such as the Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA),National Agency for Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC),Ministry of Health and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria(PSN)is saddled with the mandate of addressing issues of fake and counterfeit drugs in the state.
While noting that the menace is very prevalent in the society, Akindeko said during the enforcement exercise,the team discovered a lot of pharmaceutical stores that are not complying with the laid down rules and regulations. He added that while those with serious offences were sealed off, others that have challenges that are not very serious were encouraged to do the needful.
Akindeko charged individuals interested in selling drugs to follow the rules and regulations as laid down by government adding that the time is up for defaulters as the task force is ready to go after them.