The federal government has disclosed that all open drug markets in the country would become illegal and shut down by January, 2019.
The minster of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the disclosure during the ceremony of the Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC) in Abia State.
In a statement made available by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), the minister said one of the major challenges in the use of medicines in the country was the unsatisfactory drug distribution system which has led to poor product handling, difficulty in product tracking for statistical purpose and for recall, circulation of substandard products , difficulty in audit trail and destruction of professional practice.
Recall that the Federal Ministry of Health had in 2013 issued the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), in its bid to reverse the ugly trend.
The Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) , Pharm, Elijah Mohammed, said the CWC was a concept within the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG), to cater for those who are in the open drug market , saying that it would help sanitize drug distribution in the country because open drug markets were the hub of major drug supply and drug problems in the country.
According to him, the CWC would provide effective regulatory activities and ensure good pharmaceutical service delivery in the country, adding “This will entail control over the efficacy of the drugs that are coming into Nigeria, and that are being made available for consumption for Nigerians.”
He said: “It is a purpose built infrastructure that will cater for a lot of things , like storage condition, practice environment , security and also in terms of regulatory activities. There are some drugs that need to be stored within a specific temperature, and the CWCs has such warehouses constructed for them, not like now in the open drug market where everything is lumped under the sun and in stores that have no windows and other things . Definitely the quality and efficacy of those drugs are maintained, that is the purpose.”
The registrar said the four major open drug markets in the country that were of concern to the federal government were the Idumota Drug market, Lagos, Onitsha overhead Bridge , Anambra State, Ariaria market , Aba , Abia State and Sabon Gari market, Kano state. He said the minister has inspected the CWCs in the first three states and would soon inspect that of Kano.