At least 58 people have been arrested and arraigned in court in an ongoing crackdown targeting illegal pharmacies in the Coast region.
The operation that was launched on March, 21 targeted Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties.
Conducted by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board drug inspectors in conjunction with Kenya Police Service, the operation targeted pharmacy outlets that had been identified during routine inspections to have flouted regulations.
During the operation, 124 illegal pharmacies were closed down and 48 cartons of assorted medicines were seized, according to the Deputy Director, Inspectorate Surveillance and Enforcement Dr. Dominic Kariuki.
The medicines will be analysed and disposed as per Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) guidelines on disposal of pharmaceutical waste.
Dr. Kariuki said “Those who pleaded guilty were fined up to Ksh. 40,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 months,” said Dr. Kariuki.
He further revealed that the Board will request the courts to enhance fines for those found guilty, in line with the fines in the amended Cap 244 to Ksh. 1000,000 to act as a deterrent.
The list of closed premises has been shared with county administration and Kenya Police Service for enforcement of closure.
“We have also observed with concern a trend where licensed pharmacy outlets are left to be manned by unqualified persons.We have already summoned such absentee superintendents for disciplinary action as per Cap 244 of the laws of Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki said.
He urged public and private healthcare facilities and those who handle pharmaceuticals to apply online for disposal of any pharmaceutical waste that they may have or get in touch with PPB regional officers on www.pharmacyboardkenya.org
The Board has also advised members of the public to use health safety codes displayed in registered pharmacy outlets to verify their legality by sending free SMS to 21031.