The Pharmacy Board Sierra Leone has held a regional stakeholders meeting at the Kenema District Council hall in Kenema City on the theme: Preserving the Health of the Nation: stop drug peddling and prevent the distribution of counterfeit medicines.
Representing the Assistant Inspector General of Police East Al-sheik Kamara, the Regional crime officer Samuel Sanie Sesay confirmed the commitment of the police in cracking down on those who deal in fake, substandard and counterfeit medicines in our society. He appealed to the public to provide them with adequate information that will lead to the arrest of drugs peddlers and smugglers in their communities. He said with adequate support from all quarters they will do their best to the expectation of the public as their Constitutional mandate is to protect lives and properties in the nation.
In his presentation the Acting Registrar of Pharmacy Board Wiltshire C.N. Johnson disclosed that the Pharmacy Board has achieved measurable successes in the fight against drug peddling and the distribution and selling of counterfeit medicines in Sierra Leone. However a lot more needs to be achieved in protecting public safety and health through the joint effort of the Board and all its partners in health and national development as a whole. He said the work of the Pharmacy Board is the responsibility of all in the society adding that without the support of the people they will fail in their duty as a Board. He said “we have stopped loving ourselves in this nation. If we do not change the way we do business in this country we will not develop as a nation.” He disclosed that the Pharmacy Board was established by an Act of Parliament in 1988 and was set up in 1992.
Mr. Johnson called on the stakeholders to be careful of counterfeit food they eat stressing that there are now counterfeit baby food around the country. He asked all to appeal to the ladies who are bleaching to stop immediately because bleaching will make them end up with cancer.
He called on the police to be more vigilant urging them to arrest and prosecute anyone caught bringing drugs from neighbouring countries into this Sierra Leone saying that all the drugs from the neighbouring countries are counterfeit and are killing hundreds of people in this nation. Mr. Johnson said Sierra Leone does not manufacture drugs but medicines are brought into the country by our brothers and sisters and he therefore appealed to drivers, motorbike riders and boat owners to stop bringing fake drugs into the country.
He said over 150 million dollars worth of medicines are brought into the country illegally every year. He said 50% of our diagnoses in this country are wrong and 90% of the injections are unnecessary and one way of stopping the use of injection in our community is by stopping pharmacies from selling injections.
“The Pharmacy Board will take the licenses from anyone caught dealing in fake, substandard and counterfeit drugs” Mr. Johnson said. He further stated that Kenema City does not need over 15 pharmacies but there are over 100 premises or outlets in the city dealing in drugs. Pharmaceutical deliveries, he went on, have rules and regulations which everyone must follow to the letter. The proliferation of pharmacies outlet in our communities is our concern; medicine can cure but can also kill if misused” he added.
He expressed the need for Anti drug squad in the Sierra Leone Police to give full support to the Pharmacy Board in combating the menace in this nation. Mr. Johnson called on all stakeholders to remain more committed in fighting the issue of fake drugs in our community. “I believe in one God as long as I am fighting a just cause in the interest of the nation” he concluded.