The National, Friday 11th November 2011
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
PHARMACISTS have been urged to do more in combating the sale of counterfeit medicine in stores.
Outlining the roles of pharmacists, Dr Jackson Lauwo, of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Papua New Guinea, asked pharmacists what they were doing about the wide sale of counterfeit drugs in stores and informal markets.
Lauwo said counterfeit and sub-standard medicine differed from country to country and the biggest threat “is to have a wide consumption of the counterfeit medicine by the majority of people”.
He said counterfeit medicine were those manufactured below the standard of quality, was dangerous to public health and ineffective for treatment of diseases and unfit for human consumption.
He made an example of the popular version of amoxicillin capsules being widely sold on the streets of Port Moresby.
“When you handle them they break easily because they are brittle and not strong,” he said.
“And so pharmacists have the responsibility to make sure that the right medicine or drug is procured and issued to hospitals and patients.”
He said the roles applied to all pharmacists in both private and public sector organisations, and under a pharmacy board, must work closely with the Government.
He said pharmacists or the board must develop relevant policies and legislation guiding the procuring, distribution and use of medicine, disseminate information on standards for practicing pharmacists and health workers, periodic inspection of outlets including the informal markets for registered and unregistered drugs and sampling of medicine sold for pharmaceutical investigation.
He said more pharmacists must be trained in education and research in order to combat the growing problem in the country.