The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria has expressed the need to collaborate with key stakeholders if it must achieve the objectives of its regulatory activities. At the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the PCN and the National Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers in Abuja recently, NAPPMED and its associate, the Lagos State Medicine Dealers Association, agreed to partner with the PCN to regularise the activities of patent medicine vendors throughout the country.

The PCN also agreed to liaise with stakeholders and relevant government agencies from time to time, to review the approved drug list for patent medicine vendors in line with the national drug policy. The Registrar, PCN, Mr. Elijah Mohammed, said “The provisions of Cap. 152 as contained in the PPMVL Guidelines for establishment of patent medicine shops, is to fill the gap in areas where there are inadequate health facilities (including pharmacies) and personnel.” He decried the proliferation of drug hawkers, saying the council would be represented at the meeting of the Federal Task Force on Counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome Processed Food, where they would chart the way forward.

Mohammed also encouraged the NAPPMED members to get acquainted with the modalities for implementing the Mega Drug Distribution Centres, saying those who meet the requirements should establish MDDCs before the July 2015 deadline. He said the council would restructure its licensing processes in order to enhance efficiency and remove red tape. The registrar also assured the NAPPMED members that when policemen accompany the PCN inspectors in the course of official duty, it was not to intimidate anybody but rather to ensure the safety of the inspectors and avert any breakdown of law and order.

Mohammed lauded the guidelines for obtaining the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors Licence, which, he said, “provides that any qualified Nigerian could operate a patent medicine shops once they meet the requirements, so as not to infringe on the rights of citizens.” The PCN boss said the regulatory agency would continue to pay unscheduled visits to pharmacies and patent medicine shops, being an essential part of its mandate to ensure rational distribution and dispensing of medicines.

He assured that only the PCN accredited inspectors with identity cards would be involved in the exercise across the nation to avoid abuse of the process. He also said the PCN would investigate an alleged inspection by some members of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria in Lagos State.

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