Court Dismisses Drug Vendors’ Case Against PCN

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The suit filed by the Nigeria Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealers (NAPPMED) against the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has been thrown out by Justice F. A. Olubanjo of the Federal High Court sitting in Akure, on the basis of lack of merit.

Justice Olubanjo in his ruling said: “I find no merit in this amended originating summons and the reliefs sought therein are refused. The amended originating summons filed on 11/03/15 is dismissed.”

The plaintiffs had rely on an earlier ruling of 1996 by Justice Ibrahim Auta in suit no: FHC/L/CS/28/95, by seeking perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants from further issuing or reverting the authority to issue the PPMVL in the absence of an amendment to the enabling laws, an injunction that, if not given, the plaintiffs said, would affect the rights of the patent and proprietary medicine vendors as well as their source of livelihood.

The court observed that the Pharmacy Act on which suit no: FHC/L/CS/28/95 was predicated had been repealed since 1992 by the PCN Act and as such the decision of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on it had been overtaken by events.

The court further held that the PCN Act 1992 empowers the second Defendant (PCN) to regulate the affairs and functions of pharmacy and matters related to the pharmacists’ profession and under section 36 of the Poisons and Pharmacy Act Cap 535 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, the Minister of Health has the power to prescribe the second Defendant (PCN) as the licensing authority for the issuance of PPMVL.

“The Federal Minister of Health has the power to make regulations under section 53 of the Pharmacy Act, and has appointed the PCN as the Licensing Authority to issue Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors Licence in Nigeria, via a letter dated April 14, 2003.’’

“Thus the 2nd Defendant (PCN) is competent to issue and publish guidelines for obtaining the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors License”, the judge ruled.

The plaintiffs, NAPPMED and Otunba F. E. Olatunji, sued the Minister of Health, PCN and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), seeking to stop the PCN from publishing any guideline, rule or condition on the procedure for obtaining the Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors License (PPMVL) as contained in the publication of The Punch of December 31, 2003.

The judge observed that the plaintiffs have only succeeded in wasting the court’s time, hoping that they would desist from filing multiple actions on the matter.

With its ruling, the judge laid to rest the issue of who regulates patent and proprietary medicine vendors which the NAPPMED contested at the Federal High Courts in Kaduna, Ibadan, Benin and Asaba against the PCN.