By 2019, it will not be that easy to just walk into any drug store and buy medicine without prescription.

There is a plan to shut down all open drug markets before the end of 2019 to curb unwholesome drug distribution across Nigeria.

Gradual implementation of this plan has already started and the Minister of Health is overseeing this.

The Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, announced this plan in a statement issued after a ground-breaking ceremony of the Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC) in Abia.

Professor Adewole, in the statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) on Wednesday, frowned at the chaotic drug distribution system in Nigeria which he said is endangering the lives of the populace.

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He noted that the closure of all open drug markets would immediately kick-start full implementation of the CWC component of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines (NDDG).

Some of the problems with the current unsatisfactory drug distribution system is that it has resulted in poor product handling, difficulty in product tracking, circulation of substandard products, difficulty in audit trail and destruction of professional practice.

According to him, the ministry issued the NDDG in 2013 in its bid to reverse the ugly trend.

The Registrar of PCN, Elijah Mohammed, described the CWC as one of the concepts of NDDG to cater for  and accommodate open drug marketers.

According to him, the CWC will provide effective regulatory activities, ensure good pharmaceutical service delivery and control the efficacy of drugs coming into Nigeria.

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The CWC is a purpose built infrastructure that would cater for storage condition, practice environment, security and also in terms of regulatory activities, among others.

There are four major open drug markets that the Federal Government is looking to develop - Idumota Drug market, Lagos; Onitsha overhead bridge, Anambra; Ariaria market, Aba, Abia; and Sabon Gari market, Kano State.

Over-the-counter access to drugs in Nigeria has increased abuse of drug one of which is codeine.

Over one million bottles of codeine are consumed in Kano on a daily basis. 

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