July 22, 2015 By Samuel Lahai in Bo
The Pharmacy Board Sierra Leone has concluded one-day consultative stakeholders’ meeting for pharmacists, druggists, patent shop owners, schools and institutions in the Southern Region, held at the One World Link in Bo city on 14th July 2015.
Mr. Henry Katta, Functional Head of Inspectors and Secretary of the Ad Hoc Task Force of Pharmacy Board in the Southern Region, told participants that for better health delivery, the Pharmacy Board regularly conducts nationwide outreach programmes dubbed suitability inspection, normal routine inspection (that is noticed or unnoticed), and proximity inspection (new premises).
He said the Board’s mandate is to frequently inspect district medical stores, visit Peripheral Health Units (PHUs), village clinics, and NGOs dealing with medicines to audit them on how they import and dispense drugs across the country.
He said the Board also destroys counterfeit and expired or substandard drugs in pharmacies and hospitals, especially those they deem to have adverse effect on consumers.
Mr. Katta noted that counterfeit drugs within Southern Region are on the increase, as well as drugs peddlers known locally as ‘pepper doctors’.
“There are three classes of drugs – A, B and C, all with different licenses,” he informed participants. “For instance, pharmacy licenses give you the mandate to sell classes A, B and C drugs, while drug stores are only mandated to sell classes B and C drugs. Those with patent shop licenses are only mandated to sell class C drugs.”
He highlighted that to combat the menace of counterfeit drugs and transnational crime, the Pharmacy Board, in collaboration with stakeholders including the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), NRA, civil society, the Ministry of Trade, Consumer Protection Bureau, Paramount Chiefs and City Councils, are meeting regularly to work out strategies to tackle the menace of counterfeit drugs and illegal drugs peddling.
He said to effectively inspect facilities in Bo, Pujehun, Moyamba and Bonthe districts, the Board is working relentlessly with its proactive inspectors on the ground to achieve results.
Deputy Registrar of the Pharmacy Board, Mr. James Peter Gomeh, stated that payments being made by pharmacy outlets as license fees are deposited directly into government’s consolidated fund, warning that pharmacies which have still not paid their license fees will soon be closed down because the pharmaceutical business is about saving lives.
He said there will soon be a review of the 2001 Pharmacy Board Act by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in order to strengthen the powers of the Board to be more robust in carrying out its functions.
Mr. Ambrose Kamara, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Task Force in the Southern Region, stated that drugs are silent weapons which can easily kill people especially when consumed wrongly or consuming counterfeit, expired or substandard drugs.
He said this was the more reason why the Pharmacy Board had thought it prudent to set up the task force nationwide to help tackle the menace of fake drugs and to ensure drugs are distributed correctly for better health.