From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, For Operating illegal Pharmacies... Lebanese, Indians & Chinese to be Prosecuted
By Amara Vandy
Aug 5, 2010, 17:04

Police sources have confirmed to Awareness Times that no less than Thirty three (33) pharmacies have been closed down this month through orders from one of the countryís most patriotic politicians, the deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation Mr. Mohamed Daudis Koroma.

According to reports, the move was taken in conformity with the Sierra Leone Pharmacy Board which is a branch of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

Speaking to the Deputy Health Minister during a short phone interview yesterday August 4th 2010, he said the exercise was initiated by him "to ensure that pharmacy owners are following the rules and regulations as stipulated by law."

What makes the present closure of pharmacies different is that the owners did not only get their illegal operations shut down, but they were also placed under police arrest for further prosecution by the Law Courts. Lebanese, Indians and even Chinese owners of patent drug stores and pharmacies have all been arrested without fear or favour, and are now in police custody awaiting prosecution in a court of law.

The pharmacies are being closed because they are not operating in conformity with the laws of Sierra Leone.

"They are not registered, some are engaged in selling sub-standard drugs while others are accused of selling expired drugs," a source revealed.

It has also come to the information of the deputy Minister of Health that it is difficult to control some of these pharmacies because they are owned by medical doctors working for government. Sources say that in most cases these pharmacies with links to doctors are the ones who usually go against the laws with impunity.

Meanwhile, the deputy Health Minister has also warned water purification companies to follow the regulations or cease operations immediately. "I will soon give orders to Health and Sanitation officials to start an on-the-spot examination of all the facilities where such companies are operating," the Deputy Health Minister said in a no-nonsense tone of voice.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.