Some unscrupulous business people including foreigners are using this global health crisis to flood the Liberian market with substandard and unsafe commodities, mainly drugs and other products, endangering the lives of our already disadvantaged population.
News that the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) seized a huge quantity of substandard pharmaceutical products smuggled in to the country recently has drawn our attention.
A release issued by the LRA last week Thursday detailed the substandard pharmaceutical products, including Vitamin C, Vitamin B-2, Cold Caps and Amoxicillin, among others, were concealed in 18 boxes onboard three Guinean commercial buses with a total cost of US$10,000.They were illegally imported into Liberia through the Liberian-Sierra Leonean border post at Bo Waterside in Grand Cape Mount County by four individuals who are not licensed to import medicines, the LRA said.
The release said the substandard medicines have been turned over to the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) for inter-agency coordination and action.
Besides, officers of the LRA Anti-Smuggling & Investigation Unit (ASIU) recently intercepted a 20-foot Container with Hazardous Chemical (Sulphuric Acid) imported from the Netherlands without permit, which breached Liberia General Business Law and the Environmental Protection and Management Law of the country.
We wonder how many other contrabands have succeeded in slipping thru our borders and entering our market, exposing both Liberians and the public generally to health hazard and eventual complications.
It is about time authorities at the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) become more vigilant, particularly during this COVID-19 crisis when our people are desperate in seeking medications for various types of sicknesses.
We should not sit supinely and allow unscrupulous individuals purporting as honest business people to flood our markets with products that would send them to their early graves.
Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all are aware of companies out there that manufacture substandard medicines and bring them to countries with weak scrutiny for sale, endangering lives. What’s more of a crisis period when everything seems to be upside down?