The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Pharmacist(Mrs.) Folukemi Aladenola has charged operators of pharmacies and patient medicine stores in Ondo State to be supportive of government policies and programmes geared towards delivering qualitative health care services to the people of the state.
Aladenola gave the charge in an interview shortly after a sitting of the disciplinary panel of the Ondo State Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs where it tried and sanctioned erring drugs sellers found culpable during its recent enforcement exercise to pharmaceutical stores and medicine stores in the state.
During the three week-long exercise, the task force which is a unit under the Department of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health sealed over fifty premises including five pharmaceutical stores and forty-five patient medicine stores in the areas covered.
The Permanent Secretary implored them to always stay on the side of the law stressing that through that, there businesses will continue unhindered.
Aladenola said the task force will continue to perform its responsibility of ridding the state of fake and counterfeit drugs towards achieving overall qualitative health care delivery of the REDEEMED Agenda of the Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu -led administration.
She noted that the sanctions given the erring drugs sellers were not punitive, but corrective measures that were intended to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations guiding the sale of drugs in Ondo State.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria(PSN), Ondo State Chapter, Pharmacist Eniola Akindeko said most of the findings of the task force during its three week-long enforcement exercise bother on non-compliance in the areas of certification, sale of controlled drugs, unhygienic environment for drugs storage and premise location distance regulations.
Akindeko added that the panel gave the erring drugs sellers sanctions that were minimal while some of them were asked to obtain court affidavits to the effect that they will not continue with the sharp practices they were found engaging in.
"To that extent, we believe that we have significantly educated them on their responsibilities and on what the law expects them to do. So going forward, we believe that in the areas where we have operated and in the other areas where we are yet to cover, because we believe that the signals must have gone out, there will be very significant improvements in the activities and operations of these people ", he said.
The PSN Chairman assured that the task force will sustain the enforcement exercise towards ridding the state of fake and counterfeit drugs.
The Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Ministry of Health, Pharmacist Gbenga Lasekan affirmed that the task force will continue to clamp down on erring pharmaceutical stores and patient medicine stores that are not complying with the rules and regulations guiding the sale of drugs in Ondo State.
Lasekan who was represented at the disciplinary panel's sitting by the Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Pharmacist Olafusi Omotiba said during its operations, the task force found out that several drugs sellers in the state engage in sharp practices that are illegal adding that the task force will sustain its operations towards ensuring qualitative health care delivery in Ondo State.
The Director averred that the enforcement exercise is not only regulatory, but to ascertain the quality of drugs purchased by the people of the state through testing of drugs with the tru-scan machine. Lasekan said majority of the drugs tested passed the tru scan test.
The Ondo State Task Force on Fake and Counterfeit Drugs consists of officials of the Ministry of Health, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria(PSN), National Agency For Food And Drugs Administration and Control(NAFDAC),National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigerian Police Force(NPF).