About twenty medical patent drug stores, kiosk and pharmacies have been closed down in the east of the country as a result of pharmacy malpractices.
This action undertaken by the pharmacy board in the east has put so many people out of business in the region.
This current exercise affected Kailahun town, Segbwema town, Daru town and Buedu in the Kailahun district and Tongo field and Kenema city in the Kenema district.
Some of the aggrieved traders in Kenema city have levied various allegations against the Chairman of the Pharmacy Board Ade Williams and his Secretary Mr. Allieu Katta of the Adhoc committee of the Pharmacy board.
Speaking to the press in Kenema, some of the allegations are that the sum of one hundred thousand Leones was given to Mr. Ade Williams as protection fees for the bosses in Freetown, while another allegation states that Mr. Katta has collected money from them without issuing receipt. One of them states that he is giving one hundred thousand Leones every month to Mr. Katta for him to be selling class A and B drugs among others.
Such development in Kenema gave cause to the Head of the Inspection Department James P. Komeh to immediately travel to Kenema city to investigate the allegations. In an emergency meeting held last Saturday 21st February 2009 with those dealing in medicines in and around Kenema at the under five hall at the government hospital along Combema road in Kenema city, one of the aggrieved persons Abdulai Barrie alleged that he has been giving one hundred thousand leones every month to Mr. Katta for class A and B drugs without taking receipt. Another aggrieved business man alleged that he gave four hundred thousand leones to Mr. Katta for documentation alleging that Mr. Katta has refused to give him receipts until he complete the payment. Another group of traders also alleged that they gave the sum of one hundred thousand Leones to Mr. Ade Williams as protection fees for them in Freetown.
Responding to the allegations Mr. Ade Williams described the allegations as false and malicious aiming at damaging their good work in the region, but said they will not relent as long as they are doing the correct thing in the interest of the nation and their conscience is clear and free from malice.
He explained that some time last year a group of these business people met him with their letter and he requested them to take it to Freetown on their own.
They in turn requested him to go with the letter on their behalf with the promise of footing his traveling cost.
They agreed to pay one hundred thousand Leones to him to do so but he ended up receiving only seventy thousand Leones from them and he then went and delivered the letter and returned the next day.
He denied that anybody had ever given him one hundred thousand Leones for anything let alone protection fees. He called on them to come out and testify of giving him any sum apart from the seventy thousand Leones as transport cost.
Mr. Katta in his response denied all the allegations and said all those who are making the allegations are those that they have closed their shops.
He explained of giving receipt for any sum received, he cited instances to people who pay to him in bits as low as thirty thousand leones followed by a receipt.
He said he does not have problem with those who do the correct thing according to the rule binding the game.
He said those who deal in substandard and fake drugs are enemies of the state and they destroy more life in a short period.
“The person who does the correct thing is my best friend because he is helping the government to save more people and there by contributing to national development. “All kiosks should be closed and the idea of selling drugs on the streets stopped.
“We will not relent in fighting the battle. I am not aiming at putting anybody out of business, do the correct thing by going through the right procedure” he said.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. James P. Komeh pointed out that all the allegations are malicious and is only coming from those whose business places were closed.
He commended the pharmacy board team in the East for doing the correct thing thereby saving thousands of people’s lives.
He said pharmacies are there to give first aid, adding that no drip, no injection must be administered in pharmacies. “Don’t take the risk” he warned. Komeh said dealing in counterfeit and expired products is a criminal offence which is in the Act. He said they will not allow anybody to register his business if he or she did not produce the NRA receipt and appealed to all to always display their licenses in their pharmacies.
“We want to stop you all from what you are doing that is bad, we will not allow anyone to sell in Kiosks let alone on the streets which is not good for medicine. We can lay our staff off if he or she gives us the cause to do so, we will not expect any one of them to compromise their profession.
This is a professional work, he cautioned all not to take it on any political line. “I will resign if the president allows people to sell in kiosk” he said.
He advised all to always buy and request for receipt and make sure that batch numbers are always on the receipt. “Be patriotic and always do not deal in fake drugs as it kills” he cautioned.
By Saffa Moriba