Fake medicines in Monrovia
The Health Ministry in Monrovia may not be doing much against fake medicines entering the country. Perhaps its focus has and continues to be on the battle against the deadly Ebola virus disease.
While it may be that way, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority or LMHRA may not also be restless in interceding for the Health Ministry for the control/regulation of medicines imported into the country.
Its Managing Director has alarmed that the country was experiencing the proliferation of fake medicines on the market, posting serious threats to the health of Liberians.
Speaking on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 in Monrovia with stakeholders at a daylong dialogue, under the theme: Monitoring the Quality of Medicines Round Five Dissemination, Pharmacist David Sumo said the issue drugs importation was not only done by owners of private pharmacy, but institutions of government responsible for health-related matters that are in the habit of purchasing fake drugs through the procurement process introduced by the government.
Mr. Sumo indicated that medicines ordered by the government were thoroughly checked before being exposed to the market. He urged Liberians to be very careful about purchasing medicines, especially drugs that are on counters.
He warned that not many people were aware of the dangers associated with purchasing un-prescribed drugs, indicating that many feel that purchasing drugs from counters and street peddlers was the best option.
In Liberia, a great number of people subscribe to the self-medication approach when they’re sick, especially in cases of common diseases, including malaria and headache.
Some doctors fear that Liberians risk serious medical complications by undergoing medication without professional medical advice.
The LMHRA was set up in 2001 to register and regulate all medicines-manufactured locally, imported, distributed, sold and used in Liberia. It also has a mandate to prepare and keep the registry of privately and publicly used medicines in Liberia, as well as to remove from the registry and prohibit the manufacturing, importation, distribution sale and use of any medicine whose quality, safety or efficacy is questioned.
The institution also has the power to set up a quality-control laboratory to undertake laboratory analysis of all medicines imported and used in Liberia. In September of last year, the LMHRA confiscated several substandard drugs from the Abeer Pharmacy ob Randall Street, down town Monrovia – an action it executed against the backdrop of concerns about fake, expired and substandard drugs on the Liberian market.
The agency took the action days after it warned against the sales of fake drugs to the public.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor