PCN warns against selling of drugs online without approval

PCN warns against selling of drugs online without approval

Registrar of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria -PCN, Dr.

Elijah Mohammed warns that selling of medicines online without registration and approval will henceforth be regarded as a criminal offence.

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Mohammed made this announcement while speaking with newsmen in Lagos during a meeting with stakeholders on online pharmaceutical products marketing and regulations.

He stated that the PCN is commencing the registration and licensing of all internet-based providers of pharmaceutical services in the country from January 2022, noting that the council is poised to enforce regulations on the sales of medicines online.

He further said, “It is very necessary to safe guide the health of Nigerians.

“Over the years, a lot of online pharmacy practice has been going on with no regulation.

“When there is no law, there is no crime.

Now that the regulations have been put in place, it is going to be a criminal offence to do an online pharmacy practice without registering with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria”.

The registrar disclosed that the PCN has been assured of support by the nation’s police chief.

“We have the support of the inspector general of police.

He has designated someone to serve as a liaison officer between the PCN and the Interpol department of the office of the IGP.

“So, if there is any reporting, they will help us to carry out an investigation and then we will bring the offender of the law to justice,” he said.

He explained that anyone that wants to practice online pharmacy must be ready to comply with the pharmacy laws and guidelines by properly registering the online platform.

“The major requirement is that the firm must have someone who will be responsible to the PCN.

That is a superintendent pharmacist.

“So, they must have a pharmacist.

They must also have a physical building with an address that we can be tracked.

“They must equally comply with other regulations like having a CAC registrationfor the company and having the relevant document to prove it.

Those are the major things that are needed for now,” he said.

He explained that the need to carry all stakeholders along informed the decision to organise the meeting, noting that the PCN is determined to ensure that all the stakeholders are on the same page before the enforcement of the rules.

He further stressed that the involvement of non-pharmaceutical in the drug business remains illegal.

“Non-pharmaceutical outlets selling and advertising drugs online are running foul of the law.

“Drugs are on the exclusive list of the federal government and before you can go into the drug business, there are certain things you must do and some requirements you must meet.

“So anyone or a trader cannot just wake up and start selling drugs.

“Drugs are poison, so they must be handled in a way and manner that will be beneficial to the Nigerian populace.

“Registration for online pharmacies will commence by January 1st, 2022 and that is why we are having this stakeholders meeting.

It is to ensure that all parties get acquitted with what is required.

“So far, about 50 applications have been received, but, we can’t just start processing them without interfacing with the companies to let them know exactly what they are expected to do and that is the whole idea of the meeting,” he said.

Also speaking at the meeting, the spokesperson for the online stakeholders, Abimbola Adebakin, a pharmacist, said those going into online sales of medicines are only filling existing gaps in the demands for medicines.

“We saw a gap and we are filling it.

When many people are looking for drugs that are genuine and affordable, they go to the physical pharmacies but sometimes, they cannot find the drug, not because the physical pharmacies do not want it to be available, but because they cannot cater to all the needs of everyone,” she said.

Adebakin, however, welcomed the intervention of the PCN, noting that the regulation of online sales of medicines will make Nigerians feel safer to purchase drugs from registered online firms.

She affirmed that the sales of fake and counterfeit medicines also make it necessary for the government to regulate this new area of the drug business, adding that it is also a way to protect the citizens and prevent drug misuse and abuse.

“We, however, urge the PCN not to be draconian in their implementation of the guidelines and to also be ready for a review of the law, because we are both learning.

“It is very vital for digital health to be promoted in Nigeria and Africa at large.

“We are happy with the PCN’s initiative as the regulatory body is doing a service to protect the country and Nigerians.

“We are happy that PCN has recognised online pharmacy, by setting up guidelines, but I urged the body to work with the online pharmacies,” Adebakin said.


PCN warns against selling of drugs online without approval

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