The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed 439 drug shops in Akwa Ibom State for various offences including dispensing unethical products, poor storage and sanitary conditions.

The registrar of PCN, Pharm. Elijah Mohammed, made this known during a press briefing in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, saying 42 pharmacies and 397 patent medicine shops were affected in the exercise.

He pointed out some of the pharmacies and patent medicine shops in the state operate without proper registration with the council, failed to renew premises license, or sold medicines outside the approved list.

Mohammed, represented by the PCN director enforcement, Pharm. Stephen Esumobi, revealed the enforcement drive took place in 13 out of 31 local government areas in the state.

According to him, nine pharmacies and patent medicine shops were issued compliance directives at the end of the week-long enforcement exercise, adding the proliferation of illegal medicine shops had became worse since the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In order to address this challenge, the PCN has stepped up enforcement activities across the country and its enforcement team has visited various states of the federation.

“The aim of the enforcement exercise is to ensure that all premises where medicines are sold are registered, having fulfilled conditions with respect to the location, storage facilities, environment, documentation and personnel.

“One of the identified weaknesses in the drug distribution chain is the proliferation of illegal medicine shops which has become worse since the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of these premises still do not have appropriate storage facilities thereby exposing medicines to harsh environmental factors like high temperature and humidity,” he added.