Fake, unauthorized medicines importation: Pharmacists Council seeks customs’ collaboration

ABUJA- THE Pharmacists Council of Nigeria,PCN,has solicited the cooperation of the Nigeria Customs Service,NCs in the smooth discharge of its duties.

Chairman of PCN Governing Council,Prof. Ahmed Mora,who led members of his board on a courtesy visit to the Comptroller General of NCs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali,in Abuja,said the visit became imperative in view of the strategic mandate of customs in importation of medicines (drugs) into the country.

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“I am highly delighted to lead the delegation of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) on a courtesy call to the Office of the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service.

“The essence of today’s courtesy call is to seek collaboration with the Nigerian Customs Service towards enhancing regulatory activities of the PCN,”Prof. Mora said.

According to him,”Indeed, there is a good convergence in the functions of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria.”

” It is a known fact that the NCS regulates and controls all items of import including medicines (drugs).  The PCN on the other hand issues premises certificates and regulates the practice of all pharmaceutical importers.

” The PCN is particularly pleased that premises licence is an important instrument in the processing of importation and clearing of medicines by the Nigeria Customs Service,”he said.

He noted that the request for the visit just granted was made about a year ago,few months after he was appointed as Chairman of PCN Governing Board by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Let me inform the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service that upon my appointment by the President, Commander-in-Chief as the Chairman, PCN Governing Council and subsequent inauguration by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie E. Ehanire on Monday, June 15, 2020, I considered it worthy of importance to embark on series of collaborative drive to various organisations, one of which is Nigeria Customs Service, hence the request for courtesy call.

“I am however, aware that the challenges of the times necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and other very important engagements resulted in the delays in securing this approval,”he noted.

He explained that,”The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria is a parastatal of the Federal Government established by PCN Act P.17, LFN 2004 and charged with the responsibility to regulate and control pharmacy education training and practice in all aspects and ramifications.”

“Pursuant to the PCN Act Cap P17, LFN 2004, PCN have responsibility amongst others of inspection, registration and licensure of all premises where pharmaceutical activities take place (Manufacturing, Importation, Distribution and Retail Premises, Hospital Pharmacies and Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors shops (PPMVs).

In carrying out this mandate, the PCN established structures such as Pharmaceutical Inspection Committees (PICs) and Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors Licence Committees (PPMVLCs) in all states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.  This is to ensure rational distribution of medicines.

“Similarly, the PCN embarks on accreditation of institution involved in the training of Pharmacists (Faculties of Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences) in the Universities) as well as institutions responsible for the training of the pharmacy sub-cadre workforce, Pharmacy Technicians (Colleges/Schools of Health Technology) in Nigeria.  The goal is to ensure compliance with Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS),”he further explained.

Prof. Mora used the occasion to hail Ali’s leadership in the Nigerian Customs Service for the revenue generation to the country whighbhe noted,had surpassed the country’s revenue target.

“The strategic leadership of the Comptroller-General (CG) to the Nigeria Customs Service is a key driver to the Nigerian economy.  It is on record that the Nigeria Customs Service has over the years under the leadership of the current Comptroller-General consistently surpasses its revenue target.

“This is highly commendable as this effort is a pillar to the improvement seen in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) despite the global economic challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.  Whereas the NCS surpassed year 2020 target by 13% it did so handsomely by 41% in 2021”,he said.

Responding, the Comptroller General of Customs,Col. Hameed Ali,rtd, while thanking Prof. Ahmed Mora for leading the 7-man delegation to him, explained that,”The visit was aimed at strengthening collaboration with the Customs Service in enhancing PCN’s regulatory and inspectorate activities.”

He affirmed the need for a strong synergy between Nigeria Customs Service,NCS and Pharmacists Council of Nigeria,PCN for the purpose of effectively regulating the drug importation channels, ensuring that only authentic drugs are imported into Nigeria and possibly, reducing the use of illicit drugs in Nigeria.”

He reassured PCN of NCS continued partnership and commitment towards assisting PCN in achieving her mandate through effective regulation and control of all items of import, including medicines, as this would positively impact the economy of the country, as well as the wellbeing of Nigerians


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