By Peter Okolie
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Saturday said the Federal Government was determined to stop the sale of drugs in open markets in the country at the end of 2018.
Adewole made this known when he visited the site for the construction of a Pharmaceutical Coordinated Wholesale Centre at Oba, near Onitsha in Anambra.
The Federal Government had announced July 31, 2017 as the deadline to end the sale of drugs in open markets.
“May be people still believe that the Federal Government is joking, government does not joke.
“We do not want fake drugs or falsified labels; we just want genuine drugs and the only way to do so is centralizing the drug market so that we can determine what comes in and what goes out.
“We have agreed to extend the deadline till Dec. 31, 2018 and that will be the last extension. We are irrevocably committed.
“By Jan. 1, 2019, if you are not here at the coordinated centre, then you cannot be anywhere. I am saying it with all seriousness that this is the last extension,” he said.
He commended the Anambra Government for supporting the project, and urged the leadership of the drug market in the state to settle their disputes amicably.
The minister also commended the choice of location for the centre, and expressed hope that work on the project would commence immediately to meet the deadline.
Earlier, Adewole, in company with Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, had visited the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe.
The minister also visited the traditional ruler of Oba, Igwe Peter Ezenwa, before proceeding to the project site.
While receiving the minister, Okeke commended the Federal Government for its resolve to end open sale of drugs.
He also commended NAFDAC for waging war against fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.
In an interview, the NAFDAC boss called on all stakeholders in drug business to join hands to safeguard the health of the nation.
According to her, the reason for the coordinated centre is to ensure that any drug under the facility is in appropriate drug storage condition.
“Such drugs must be registered, must be of the right quality, safe and efficacious for use because it is impacting on the health and wellbeing of the society,” Oni said.