Stop selling medical drugs on streets


MEDICAL drugs that were once sold only at authorised chemists or distributed through the public health system through prescription are now being sold on the streets and on public market tables.
This is happening in front of the eyes and under the nose of respective health authorities and yet, none has raised a voice to stop this.
Buying and taking these drugs for minor illnesses without professional advice from medical experts pose a grave danger to the user.
Medicines, unlike other products, should not be in any ways and means sold on the streets by streets venders.
It should be prescribed by well-trained doctors and nurses after thorough medical examination and diagnosis of illness in hospitals and health centres.
Common prescription medicines such as amoxicillin and the new malaria drug, mala one, are sold openly by street vendors.
Almost everybody knows and can name amoxicillin but don’t know how much to take, when and for how long, and for what illness.
Whether it is bought with a prescription at a certified drug store or from the street seller, it is still amoxicillin and should work, never mind the fine print on the content.
This is the danger and risk alluded to illegal pharmaceutical activities.
This is serious health concern that should be looked into and stopped.
The danger of consuming contraband medical drugs is highly possible.
Counterfeit products are also on the shelves so you really do not know if what is purchased from the trade table was from the batch approved by the Pharmacy Board and Pharmaceutical Regulatory Standards Licensing Authority.
Former Health minister, administrator and Pomio MP Elias Kapavore who shared a photograph of medicines displayed on a table alongside betel nuts and cigarettes on his Facebook account says it is risky taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription or ones that were not cleared by the proper regulating bodies.
Medicines sold on the streets pleads the question of what authorities are doing about it.
Kapavore points out that the pharmaceutical services standard branch of the Health Department provides oversight on the registration of medicinal products, compliance, licensing, inspections, quality and control.
“There is also the Medicines and Cosmetics Registration Act 2002 that establishes the drug regulatory authority and inspections and issuing of licenses. The Act regulates the medicinal products sold in pharmacies and those distributed through the public health system,” he said.
Long-term consequences are that the user’s body eventually develops resistance to the effects of these medicines, which makes it easy for other disease to attach them.
Even the greater risk is that the treatable disease finally develops resistance to these common and often used medical drugs.
Some diseases have been widely reported to be resistant to first line drug therapy.
Medicine resistance occurs because patients don’t adhere to and comply with treatment protocol prescribed by the health workers.
This is alarming and should stir up everybody’s concern and attention, especially those in the Health Department.
The Health Department has, on countless times, warned the public not to purchase medical drugs sold at places as they are not recognised.
Those selling on the streets are doing it without proper compliance certificates and pharmaceutical licenses.
Unless we come up with policies to widen the powers of the police to arrest, prosecute and imprison the illegal medicine dealer, we are heading for problems.
Make it illegal and punishable by law for people to sell medical drugs on the streets.