Realizing that it is humanly and logistically impossible to arrest the issue to counterfeit and drug peddling in Sierra Leone, the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) has developed a strategy to work with all stakeholders.
Despite the measurable success in the fight against drug peddling and the distribution and sales of counterfeit medicines in Sierra Leone a lot more needs to be done. It is because of this realization that the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) and its partners have organized a National Stakeholders meeting to map the way forward.
Speaking at the advocacy meeting for stakeholders with the theme Preserving the Health of the Nation: “stop drug peddling and prevent the distribution of counterfeit medicine” at the Kimbima Hotel yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) representative……. said that the presence of fake drugs is more prevalent in countries with weak regulations.
He however suggested that there is the urgent need to review the Pharmacy and drugs Act, adding that to combat counterfeit and drug peddling there must be the political will.
The WHO representative also pledged the organization’s continued support to Pharmacy Board in the fight against counterfeit and drug peddling
Director of Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat (ABC) Philip Conteh however noted that “though the spread of counterfeit drugs caused by a number of contributory factors including the high price of genuine drugs on the market as compared to fake drugs; the lack of resources and strict control and monitoring etc, the most important among them is the greed and corrupt tendencies of certain tiny but significant group of individuals within the Pharmacy and drugs distribution network.”
These opportunistic groups, he said, “continue to threaten our health sector and the lives of our people. These people are murderers and must be sniffed out of their so called hiding places he said.” Philip Conteh also admonished all from customs officers, boat and transport owners, and the police to change their attitude in the fight against counterfeit and drugs peddling.
Officially opening the dialogue, the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr Sheku Tejan-Jalloh said “drugs is like bullet it kills” The minister said that even though he believes in a free market, the importation of drugs should be solely by MoHS.
In a well researched presentation, PBSL Acting Registrar, Wilshire Johnson highlighted the horrific pictures Sierra Leone is faced with as regards counterfeit drugs. In Freetown, he disclosed, approximately 80% of the population does self medication.”
Mr. Johnson however pointed out that people are dying due to medication error, highlighting Michael Jackson as a victim.