Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) on Thursday said it had closed down 244 patent medicine and pharmaceutical shops in Ilorin, Kwara, for operating illegally.

The State Officer of the council, Mr Bayode Emmanuel, who disclosed this in Ilorin to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the shops were shut for operating without registration with the council in the state.

According to Emmanuel, every patent medicine shop must pay a sum of N5, 500 to the PCN as registration fee to enable them operate.

He added that medicine shops which engaged in the sale of unauthorised drugs were also closed down.

“We have so far closed down 222 patent medicine shops and 22 pharmaceutical shops in the state to deter the sale of unauthorised drugs to unsuspecting members of the public,” he said.

Emmanuel said that some of the shops’ owners were illiterates, adding that some often cooked their meals inside their shops with the heat emanating from the stove affecting the potency of the drugs.

“All patent shop owners must have a minimum of secondary school leaving certificate qualification to operate.

"The pharmaceutical shop owner must be a qualified pharmacist or must employ a pharmacist before it can be officially recognised,” he said.

The PCN officer said that owners of the closed shops would pay some charges before the shops would be reopened.

“We gave them tellers to pay the administrative fee to the bank, and once the fee is paid, we will release their keys to them.

“We are doing this in order to correct them and not to punish them,” he said.

Reacting, Hajia Hauwa Lawal, a patent medicine shop owner in Tanke area of Ilorin, told NAN that her shop had been closed down for more than one week.

She said that PCN had directed her to pay N40, 000 before the key to her shop would be released.