The Pharmacy Board Eastern Region has on Thursday 5th March 2009 destroyed counterfeit, expired, substandard and deteriorated pharmaceutical products worth 30 million Leones.
The destruction ceremony took place at the government hospital compound along Combema road in Kenema city.
Speaking at the destruction site the District Medical Officer Kenema Dr. Yankuba Madina Bah said the problem of fake and counterfeit drugs is faced not only by Kenema district but the entire country. He thanked the Pharmacy Board that is fighting in collaboration with other stakeholders in combating the issues of fake drugs in the region. He said those who sell medicines in bags, and other containers hawking from one place to another are referred to as enemies of the state because they kill more rather than cure. He appealed to the community people not to allow such people in their community and encouraged them to report to the nearest police post or pharmacy office.
Dr. Bah called on all to buy their medicines from a recognized pharmacy or drug outlet.
In his speech the Head of the Inspection Department in Freetown James P. Comeh said the issue of counterfeit drugs is a global problem pointing out that Sierra Leone stands at a greater risk because it does not have the necessary logistic to combat it. He said they will not succeed in the little effort they are making without the citizens cooperating with the pharmacy board and the law enforcing agencies. He says someone needs to know the good drugs first before they know the counterfeit. Mr. Comeh explained that any drug that is without the full manufacturers address is a fake drug adding that some of these drugs have label like KAV, KVA and KAU among others. He encouraged the business people to do the correct things because no inspector will compromise the issue of fake, substandard and expired drugs. Mr. Comeh said according to the Act, as from now anybody caught with counterfeit drugs will not appear at any disciplinary committee as it was being done before but will be charged to court for criminal offence. He called on the public to pass information to the right quarters for the benefit of all in making the community a free zone for fake drugs.
The Secretary of the Adhoc committee eastern region Mr. Allieu Katta said the issues of counterfeit is a dangerous weapon that is worse than HIV/AIDS and Armed robbers because counterfeit drugs kill hundreds of people at one go. He warned all to stop the issues of fake and counterfeit drugs. He called on the business people to be patriotic and peace loving Sierra Leoneans by selling good drugs to the citizen of this nation, saying that his office will not comprise with anyone dealing in fake and counterfeit drugs. He said the current destruction involves over three hundred types of drugs which are being estimated at 30 million Leones.
The chairman of the Adhoc Task Force Ade Williams described their task as unavoidable exercise saying that as they continue to destroy the drugs so the business people continue to bring them into the country. He called on the public to report at their no. 10 Humonya Avenue office in Kenema city of drugs that are brought into the country. He called for the cooperation of every one in the community for the safety of all.
Fatmata Gassimu an Inspector in Kenema district said they will not relent in their effort to make the region free from fake and counterfeit drugs. She called on peace loving Sierra Leoneans not to sleep in combating the issue of fake drugs. She appealed to the pharmacy people to ask for doctors prescription form before administering treatment, saying the pharmacy have their limit. She thanked police, chiefs, the press and other stakeholders in their various ways in fighting the menace.