Health Ministry sources have reliably informed this Press that in line with the current trend of the Health and Sanitation Minister’s drive to reform the health sector in the country, the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) has been duly reinvigorated to ensuring that the pharmaceuticals in circulation in the country are safe and are of good quality; this the sources further explained is expected to be achieved through the sustained conduct of routine inspection exercises of the distribution chain.
In view of this, this press has been revealed that the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone is presently undertaking intensive inspection exercise across the country. This, Board officials say “is in line with Minster’s pledge to rid this country of substandard and counterfeit drugs. As a result of recent raids conducted across the country PBSL sources have intimated that “One Hundred and Twenty three (123) pharmaceutical outlets were found dealing in expired, counterfeit and substandard products”. As a Consequence Board officials say, the proprietors/pharmacy professionals of the defaulting pharmaceutical outlets were invited to face the disciplinary committee of the Board.
The disciplinary committee according to the Acting Registrar of the Board Wiltshire C N Johnson; is headed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice through his representative on the Board Lawyer R. A. Caesar; a prominent lawyer of outstanding repute for over 30 years.
Information officer of the Board Mr. Sahr E. Gbomor explained that “Sixty-five (65) of the one hundred and twenty proprietors/pharmacy professional that were summoned by the disciplinary committee were fined to the tune ranging from Le100, 000.00 to Le900, 000.00 depending on the severity of crime committed” he said stoutly. He further said that “those fined were also warned during the hearing that their licenses would be revoked if they are brought before the committee for the second time on such matters”. Two of the offenders called by the committee were cautioned and discharged he said
Mr. Gbomor further said that fifty-six (56) of the proprietors/pharmacy professionals summoned have had their licenses suspended pending further investigations in accordance with Section 12 subsection 1, 2,3,4,5, 6 and 7 and Section 13 of the Pharmacy Drugs Act 2001.
It was also learnt during interviews with Board Inspectors that huge quantities of counterfeit, substandard and expired drugs were confiscated for necessary regulatory action.
In a related development, inspection officers from the Board raided the Bamoi International market in the Kambia District, Northern Sierra Leone where counterfeit and substandard drugs were confiscated that are said to be valued into hundreds of millions of Leones. The confiscated products according Pharmacy Board Officials have been deposited at the Pharmacy Board Northern Regional Office Makeni, awaiting necessary regulatory and legal actions. The police are expected to apprehend the perpetrators of these dangerous and life threatening drugs.
See the details of counterfeit, substandard and expired drugs as well as names and addresses of those fined and those that did not show up for the disciplinary committee hearing on pages8 &9