The Pharmacy and Poisons board has closed down 161 chemists in Western Region during a one week crackdown.
The pharmacy and poisons board head of good distribution practices and ports entry Dr.Dominic Kariuki says that the premises that were operating illegal in Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia and Vihiga counties have been shut down.
During the crackdown 34 chemists were closed in Bungoma County, 26 in Vihiga, Busia 45 while Kakamega County led by the closure of 56 chemists.
“Pharmacy and poisons board ensures that Kenyans access quality, safe and efficacious medicines, PPB in conjunction with National Police Service carried out crackdown on illegal pharmaceutical outlets in Western region from February 3 which helped us close all non-compliant premises,” said Kariuki.
He reiterated that the crackdown was carried out to augment the routine inspections that are carried out by Western region Commissioners in conjunction with PPB officers.
Dr. Jacinta Wasike, the director department of inspectorate surveillance and enforcement cautioned Kenyans against selling government drugs in personal chemists.
“It is an offense to sell government branded medicines in personal chemists, those medicines are ,meant for government hospitals to benefit Kenyans, those found will be arrested and be arraigned in court,” she said.
Dr.Wasike stated that majority of the closed premises were carrying on business of pharmacist/pharmaceutical technologist while not registered as a pharmacist/pharmaceutical technologist contrary to section 19(1a) of the pharmacy and poisons act.
She stated that so far 50 cases have been taken to court and those accused persons pleaded guilty and were given fines ranging fromSh5,000 to Sh20,000, those who pleaded not guilty were handed fines of up Sh200,000 and cases are still ongoing.
“The seized drugs during the crackdown were forfeited to the pharmacy and poisons board for safe disposal,” said. Dr.Wasike.
She stated that during the crackdown PPB inspectors arrested six repeat offenders. These are persons who had been arrested in the past and charged in court on similar charges.
“However, due to the low and non-deterrent fines imposed on them by courts they get back to illegal trade, we request the courts to enhance the fines charged on those found guilty of malpractices to stop them from going back to the same businesses which endangers public health,” she said.
The director stated that PPB inspectors noted with concern the presence of ‘unmarked/nameless chemists which is a key pointer to an illegal pharmaceutical outlet and the public are asked to report such premises to PPB inspectors for immediate action to be taken.