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Anthrax: Oyo Govt., Community Pharmacists Continue Trade Of Words Over Seal Of FinRel

The Oyo State Government has condemned the action of the owner of FinRel Pharmacy, who broke the seal on his business premises, after he was found guilty of violating the veterinary premises law.

A statement jointly signed by the Commissioners of Information and Orientation, Prince Dotun Oyelade and his counterpart from Agriculture and Rural Development, Barrister Olasunkanmi Olaleye said surveillance agents of the Ministry confirmed the incident.

The statement said reasons for sealing FinRel Pharmacy Store at Asolo, Olorunsogo area, in Ibadan is not cast in stone, adding that it will take appropriate legal actions against the management of the Pharmacy, within the ambit of the law.

The statement confirmed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s action was premised on its efforts to curtail any outbreak of any animals to humans’ disease (zoonotic).

After receiving an intel that a Vet Doctor with FinRel Pharmacy, Dr. Ayorinde Benjamin with VC RG No 10257 was treating dogs at a barbecue spot of the Pharmacy and Veterinary Store, the Ministry promptly visited the said premises.

While reacting to a statement by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, the Commissioners placed on record that the Oyo State Government is not interested in who sells human and veterinary medicine.

“The present government in the state would not allow any person or group of persons’ selfish interest and unprofessional acts to put the health of the general public at risk”, the statement said.

They affirmed that the Oyo State would not fold its arms on any unprofessional act that is liable to put the entire state in jeopardy and enhance an outbreak of diseases.

The statement further stated the following reports that indicted FinRel Pharmacy:

1. The Officers from the Ministry were denied access to the FinRel Pharmacy vaccine storage.

2. FinRel Pharmacy did not register as a veterinary pharmacy as captured by the Oyo State Veterinary Premises Law, 2017 and has not equally registered as Veterinary clinic as required by section 3 subsections 1 of the Private Veterinary Premises and Veterinary Establishment law of Oyo State, 2017.

3. The FinRel Pharmacy Manager, named Pharmacist Rachel confirmed that they sell, treat and administer vaccines on animals at the Pharmacy.

4. The Officers were equally denied access to the pharmacy veterinary log book that is expected to contain all the veterinary activities of the pharmacy.

Also, the same pharmacy, FinRel advertised free anti- rabies vaccine promo for dogs if goods bought were worth #10,000 between 1st and 30th August, 2023.

Sequel to the above, FinRel Pharmacy Veterinary Doctor was invited for investigation by the Oyo State Committee on Regulations of Veterinary Premises and Veterinary Establishment on 16th of August, 2023 at the Office of Director, Veterinary Services of the Ministry.

During the investigation, the FinRel Pharmacy Veterinary Doctor, Dr. Ayorinde Benjamin with VC RG No 10257 agreed that he was still in the employment of FinRel Pharmacy and that he was the same person in the said viral video treating Dog at FinRel barbecue spot, which is a public health risks to the people of the State.

The said Dr. Ayorinde however, apologized for his unethical and unprofessional conduct saying it was at the directive of his employer.

As part of the ongoing aggressive campaign and awareness by the state government to sensitize the general public, most especially the stakeholders in veterinary activities to prevent outbreak of Anthrax and other zoonotic diseases, the Oyo State Government on Monday 29th August, 2023, ordered the sealing of the said FinRel Pharmacy and Veterinary Store at Asolo, Olorunsogo area, Ibadan accompanied with men of the Nigerian Police from the Police Headquarters, Eleyele.

The Oyo State Government therefore urged the general public and law abiding citizens to support efforts of the State Government to protect lives and property.

Meanwhile, The association of community pharmacists of Nigeria, Oyo state has expressed displeasure over the actions of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria VCN in conjunction with the officials of Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in the recent sealing of a Pharmacy supermarket in Ibadan, Finrel Pharmacy, Olorunsogo, Ibadan.

The community Pharmacists in a press conference held in Ibadan on Friday said the ministry was only using state law that is an afront to the Federal government’s exclusive legislation that cannot be subsumed under the Oyo state house of assembly legislation

Reacting to the allegations by the ministry on a purported video where an individual was seen injecting a dog, at an open space showing the pharmacy’s name, Chairman, Association of community Pharmacists of Nigeria, ACPN, Oyo State, Pharmacist Adebayo Gbadamosi debunked the allegation of engaging in veterinary clinical services, saying the ministry lacks the power to carry out such action.

“During the pendency of a suit at the high court challenging the Veterinary practicing Premises Registration Regulation 2018 at the federal high court of Nigeria Ibadan judicial division, the veterinary doctors spearheaded by the director veterinary services, Oyo State ministry of Agriculture started to blackmail one of our members by sponsoring videos of unknown persons outside his premises injecting a pet. The said video was used to create a scenario of pharmacies offering veterinary services that could lead to the breakout of anthrax. This video is unfortunate, very misleading, height of mischief and done to damage the hard earned image of the member in question in his community.

“Veterinary Doctors through their association; Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association have challenged the Pharmacy Council Act (Legislation of National Assembly) which empowered Pharmacy Council of Nigeria the legal responsibility to determine who is qualified to manufacture, import, store, sell, dispense and premises where drugs including herbal, supplement, veterinary drugs and biologics are handled. The suit was to determine whether Veterinary Doctors are not legally empowered to handle veterinary drugs?.

“The judgment delivered by Hon. Justice (Dr) Nnamdi O. Dimgba of the Federal High Court of Nigeria in the Abuja Judicial Division of Friday March 24, 2017 affirmed that Pharmacy Council of Nigeria is the legal entity for the regulation of animal drugs and biologics and have the mandate to determine who is charged with the responsibility of storage, sale and dispensing as well as premises where animal drugs and biologics are to be handled.

Gbadamosi explained that the sealing of the pharmacy supermarket was a charades and cannot hold water, noting that the ministry was taking action on a matter that was already in the court of law since February 2023

“When ACPN was brought to the knowledge of this law in October 2022 we wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Agriculture asking for a meeting to inform the ministry on why the law CANNOT stand because of the observed conflicts in its provisions. We were prevented by the director of veterinary service, one Mrs Azeez from meeting the commissioner but instead asked us to go to the court if we are not happy with the law. To our dismay, during our correspondences with the ministry of Agriculture, the task force from the Ministry started going to community pharmacies to harass our members and to seal their premises. This move was resisted and we immediately filed a suit to challenge the Veterinary practicing Premises Registration Regulation 2018 on 10th Feb 2023 at the federal high court of Nigeria Ibadan judicial division.

“The community pharmacists are resolute and trust in the outcome of the suit in court and may resort to self-help to defend ourselves if veterinary council in whatever guise come close to any of our premises by not waiting for the outcome of the court henceforth.

Mr Gbadamosi said community Pharmacists are professionals and a regulated profession under pharmacy council Act, a legislation of National Assembly which empowered pharmacy council of Nigeria the legal responsibility to determine who store, sell, dispense drugs including veterinary drugs and biologics.

Also speaking, chairman Pharmaceutical Society Of Nigeria, Oyo state, Mr Oguntoye Adegboyega who alledged that the actions of the ministry was a witch hunt, explained that steps by the association to meet the commissioner of agriculture through the director of veterinary services was rejected.

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