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NEWS : Local News  

Pharmacy Board Destroys Le.1.20 Billion Worth of Drugs in Sierra Leone
By Aruna Turay
Dec 11, 2008, 17:18
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In continuation of their Drug Safety and Monitoring Programme, the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone (PBSL) on Wednesday 10th December 2008 destroyed by burning quantities of fake, sub-standard and counterfeit drugs to a market value of about Le.1.20b (One Billion and Two Hundred Million Leones) at the usual King Tom dumping site, western Freetown.

Drugs waiting to be destroyed

According to Pharmacy Board Chairman and Director of Drugs and Medical supplies Mr. Turay, who granted an exclusive interview to this press after the exercise, it is an ongoing process aimed at ridding the market of fake, expired and sub-standard drugs that contribute to many of the health complications we are faced with as a nation. He said the Drugs Safety and Monitoring Programme is the brain child of the Drugs Information and Pharmacovigilance Department (DPID) of Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, with initial funding from Global Fund Project, with the objectives to monitor and surveillance fake and sub-standard drugs from entering the country.

Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Sheku Tejan Koroma

Mr. Turay informed that drugs safety and monitoring system has greatly improved the Boards capacity to monitor and identify counterfeit and substandard drugs. "This is evidenced by the recent capture of drugs amounting to over 1.20 billion leones in raids carried out by the Board countrywide." He said, adding that counterfeiting affects even global markets, not only Sierra Leone. He however, promised to do all in their capacity to address this problem in our country.

Chairman PBSL, Mr. Bassie Turay flanked by staff

The chairman further stated that they have established postal board centers at almost all the entering points into the country, including the high seas to inspect all drugs entering into the country.

Counterfeit drugs set ablazed

Also to speak to the Awareness Times was the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation Hon. Sheku Tejan Koroma who expressed satisfaction for the stance taken by Board management which he referred to as "their tireless efforts toward protecting the public from counterfeit drugs." He said the ministry has reorganized the Board, for which an increase in their budget allocation was made so as to make them capable and well set to fight counterfeiting on drugs and other items entering the country, including food.

The Minister said the actual cause of the recent increase in the influx of fake, sub-standard and counterfeit drugs is the low tax levied on drugs imported into neighboring countries. "But with our new Board Chairman, we will soon arrest that problem," the minister ended on a promissory note.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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