At least 100 illegal pharmacy premises have been closed down in the ongoing crackdown conducted by the pharmacy and poisons board in the upper eastern region, which include Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Isiolo and Marsabit Counties.
Speaking during a press briefing in Meru town on Friday, the region’s senior drugs inspector Julius Kaluai said in the same exercise, 90 cartons of assorted medicines were seized.
The medicine will be analysed and if found fit for use, it will be donated to public hospitals and on the contrary, disposed of as per the board’s guidelines.
At least 43 persons were also arrested and taken to various courts where they were fined between Sh60, 000- Sh100,000.
Mr Kaluai said the crackdown was part of their routine process of ensuring that Kenyans access quality, safe and efficacious medicines.
“This time the crackdown targeted those pharmacy outlets that had been identified during routine inspections to have flouted the regulations. In our next move we will be checking on premises that we closed previously and this has proved to be an effective way of weeding out illegal outlets,” said Mr Kaluai.
He said the list of all closed premises will be shared with the county administration and the police for enforcement of closure.
In the same crackdown, Mr Kaluai added, the board officials obtained invoices, receipts and other documents from the illegal premises that are helping them identify the licensed wholesalers of pharmaceuticals who are supplying the illegal premises.
Once identified, the owners of the wholesale outlets will be prosecuted and their licenses revoked.
“It is the responsibility of every medicine wholesaler to verify the documents of those who they are selling to. Failing to do this is an illegality and they will face the consequences since these documents are not private in any way,” said Mr Kaluai.
Mr Kaluai said that they also observed with concern a trend where licensed pharmacy outlets are manned by unqualified persons adding that such absentee superintendents have been summoned for disciplinary action as stipulated by the law.
He advised members of the public to use health safety codes displayed in registered pharmacy outlets in order to verify the legality of the premises.
“The board wishes to notify both public and private healthcare facilities and those who handle pharmaceuticals to apply online for disposal of any pharmaceutical waste that they may have or get in touch with their regional officers for assistance,” said Mr Kaluai.
by Dickson Mwiti