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Public advisory on illegal peddling of medicines

BELMOPAN, Thurs. May 30, 2019– This afternoon, we received a press release from the Ministry of Health concerning the identification of products “that are being sold as medicines but not officially recognized and registered by the Ministry of Health.”

The release says that during two recent inspections, the medicines were confiscated from “peddlers/street vendors.”

The release says that, apart from being illegal, the medicines pose a health risk, as they may be “falsified and substandard.”

We wanted to find out if the ministry had any idea from where the peddlers got the medicine, whether the medicines were expired, and whether the peddlers were charged with any crime according to our medical laws.

Mrs. Danini Marin, of the Drug Inspectorate Unit, told Amandala that it appears that the drugs were coming in from neighbouring countries, probably Guatemala, and that the ministry was working with police and personnel from the Customs Department to try to shut down the supply route.

She also said that the drugs are not necessarily expired, and a joint effort is being made by the ministry and the Customs and Excise Department to find a way to take these vendors to court.

Mrs. Marin told us that while they do send out inspectors, as soon as the vendors become aware that the inspectors are “on the ball,” the vendors “disappear.”

We consider the matter serious, because taking the wrong medication from non-professionals can cause serious health problems, and maybe even death, and it may be tempting to buy these medicines because, without a doubt, they are much cheaper than medicines bought from licensed pharmacies.

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