Sixty-six pharmacies and over 300 patent drug stores have been closed in Rivers State for failing to comply with safety and professional regulations.
They were among more than three hundred and seventy nine premises that were affected when the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria embarked on an enforcement exercise.
The enforcement team of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria was in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre Local Government Areas to assess the level of compliance to regulations guiding the profession.
Patent medicine vendors must stock only items with a wide margin of safety and that can be dispensed without the supervision of a pharmacist. As a result, 315 stores were closed for illegally selling prescription drugs.
66 Pharmacies were also sealed for operating without the supervision of a ceritified pharmacist and other offences.
The team visited more than 500 business premises but in what can be best described as a serious threat to public safety in Rivers State more than 50 percent of that number fell short of expectations.
Due to the proliferation of pharmacies and patent medicine stores in Nigeria, it requires a massive deployment of men and equipment to consistently police the drug distribution chain.
The council advised the public to take responsibility by patronising only stores that show proof of up-to-date registration and qualified staff.
The Pharmacist Council of Nigeria said most of these stores will be allowed to reopen for business after they fulfill their regulatory obligations but also warned that is a criminal offence to break the seal before doing so.