*Traders jubilate as Minister gives opposition permanent red card
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has expressed the Federal Government’s determination to end the sale of drugs in the open market by Dec. 31, 2018.
Adewole expressed the resolve at the site for the construction of a Pharmaceutical Coordinated Wholesale Centre at Oba in Idemili South Local Government Area near Onitsha, Anambra State.
This generated standing ovation and jubilation from the traders as they hailed the Minister for approving Oba for the project.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier slated July 31, 2017 as the deadline to end the sale of drugs in the open market.
“Maybe 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,” the minister stressed.
Adewole, who commended the state government for supporting the project, 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, expressing hope that work will commence immediately on the project site to meet the deadline warning the opposition severely that Oba is not negotiable.
Earlier, Adewole, in the company of the Acting Director-General of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, and others, visited the state 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.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Nkem Okeke while receiving the minister, commended the Federal Government’s resolve to end open sale of drugs.
Okeke also commended NAFDAC for waging war against fake and counterfeit drugs in the country.
Similarly, the Obi of Onitsha, who was represented by Chief Chilo Asika, commended the minister and NAFDAC for improving health standards of the citizenry.
In an interview, the Acting D-G of NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni called on all stakeholders in the 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 under the 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.
In their separate remarks, Dr Joe Akabuike and Mrs Amaka Ilobi, the state Commissioner for Health and Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Market and Wealth Creation respectively, assured of government’s support for the project.
Also speaking, Mr Uche Eze, the Chairman, Central Pharmaceutical and Allied Wholesale Ltd., said about 1, 600 shops measuring 70 square meters would be constructed on the project site.
The chairman said members were ready to complete the project and relocate from the open market to the centre before the deadline.
While commending the efforts of the Federal Government’s initiative, Eze said it will reduce the issue of fake drugs to zero per cent.