Forty-six people have been arrested in the ongoing crackdown on illegal chemists and pharmacies in the upper Eastern region by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board and 120 cartons of medicine seized.
Pharmacy and Poisons Board Principal inspector of drugs Julius Kaluai said the 46 were arrested on various offences including operating illegal drug outlets.
The 120 cartons on the other hand were found in illegal premises and the personnel found handling them were also arrested.
During the crackdown, a total of 85 premises were issued with closure notices and their details shall be shared with other government administrative agencies for joint enforcement of closure.
Mr Kaluai added that the premises issued with closure notices were found to have been closed down by the operators to evade inspections and they have been profiled as hotspots.
“The offences of those arrested range from unregistered outlets to not qualifying to run premises. We have however not found any issues related to wrong medication,” he said.
He added that the drugs that were seized will be disposed if they are bad or expired or be donated to hospitals if they are good.
Kaluai called on the county governments to partner with the board to ensure expired drugs were disposed accordingly.
“If they fail to do so we can equally arrest those who are responsible and take them to court as the risk of those medicines coming back to the market is quite high,” he said.
He thanked the Kenya Police service, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Judiciary for their collaboration during the crackdown.
During the crackdown, the board obtained invoices, receipts and other documents from the illegal premises, that shall aid to identify the licensed wholesalers of pharmaceuticals who are supplying illegal premises.
The owners of those wholesales will be investigated, prosecuted and their licenses revoked.
He reminded the licensed pharmaceutical practitioners and medical representatives that all medical representatives permit, annual practice licenses, certificate for registration of premises and wholesale dealer’s licenses expire on 31st of December every year and no extension for the same is provided for.
He also warned the rogue individuals who remove or deface the closure notices issued that they are under investigation and any such acts will lead to appropriate regulatory actions.
“We also wish to notify both public and private healthcare facilities and those who handle pharmaceuticals that they should apply online for disposal of any pharmaceutical waste that they may have or get in touch with the board headquarters and regional officers through their website (www.pharmacyboardkenya.org)