An elder of the Municipal Borough of New Kru Town in the Monrovia suburb of Bushrod Island is apprehensive or suspicious about the increase of drug stores near the government-owned Redemption Hospital in the borough.
Elder Wleh Koffa notes in less than two years there are at least six medicine stores operating in the vicinity of the hospital.He names Tuesday & Med. Store, Shannon Medical Store, Subha Pharmacy, Lucky Pharmacy, Renaissance Medicine Store and another that has no service name, among others.
According to him, he is very much concerned why these medicine stores suddenly sprang up only around the Redemption Hospital when other communities within the borough are in dire need of medicine stores to provide essential drugs to inhabitants.
He questions the motive behind the establishment of the medicine stores, suspecting that they might be allegedly connected with medical personnel working at the Redemption Hospital to have easy access to government provided medicines.
He recalls that four years ago, some government security officers arrested huge consignment of medical drugs provided to the hospital by the National Drugs Service (NDS) that were kept in an upstairs building opposite the Redemption Hospital.
Koffa continues that it is in the same building that one of the new medicine stores, Subha Pharmacy is presently operates from, disclosing it is owned and operated by an Indian national.He calls on the Ministry of Health to closely monitor operations of these medicine stores to prevent them from dubiously obtaining and selling drugs supplied by the NDS to the hospital.
However, when these medicine stores’ operators were contacted on the red flag raised by Elder Koffa, they vehemently rejected the assertions of Mr. Koffa, countering that if their medicine stores were not present near the hospital, many patients taken to the Redemption Hospital would have died.
The medicine stores’ operators add that some of them purchase drugs locally while others import medicines into the country for sale to the general public, so they have no cause to dubiously buy and sell government drugs.
Lack of essential drugs at most public hospitals across the country remains a serious challenge with doctors prescribing drugs and directing patients to buy them from outside. Most of the drug stores are just few miles away from hospitals’ premises amid reports of health workers, nurses and doctors operating private clinics and drug stores.
Right opposite the government-run JFK Medical Center in Sinkor is a branch of Lucky Pharmacy owned by an Indian National while at the junction of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital in Congo Town outside Monrovia is Abeer, a major importer of pharmaceutical products.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne