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Sierra Leone News:Pharmacy Board discusses drug regulations…There is shortage of assured medicines-Dr.Lukulay

cmoOn November 9, the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone gathered stakeholders together at the Radisson Blu Hotel to discuss the problem of regulating medicine and regulatory capacity in Sierra Leone. The threat of counterfeit, substandard and degraded drugs on the market poses a challenge to the Pharmacy Board, pharmacists, doctors and ultimately, patients.
The Vice President of Global Health Impact Programs-Africa (United States Pharmacopeia), Patrick H. Lukulay, said, “There is a shortage of assured medicines globally. The shortage of human, technical and financial resources means many national regulatory agencies do not have full capacity to perform most core functions”.
Lukulay pointed out that regulatory agencies don’t pay attention to standards. The clinical labs are not regulated. The reagents used in testing are not regulated, which is why we sometimes get varied lab results on the same product.
Secondly, he said, “Our systems are bad and there is selective enforcement.” According to Lukulay, “That puts some people above the law. This is a disservice to the nation. It is also a disincentive to the professionals”.
The Chairman of the Pharmacy Board, Basie Turay, also noted, “The issue of trying to prevent the proliferation of not only substandard but counterfeit and deliberately adulterated drugs is a problem in the country”. He continued, “The lack of confidence in government’s commitment is also undermining these systems and they remain weak”.
Despite the efforts of the Board and its partners to map out strategies that will minimize such public health concern, Basie emphasized that the dangers of counterfeiting is still very bad in the country.
“In Sierra Leone, this is very critical in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate and such challenges in the health sector. The efforts of the government to address morbidity and maternal deaths will not achieve its full potential if we are not sure about the quality of those drugs and their suppliers”, said Saad El-Din Hussein Hassan, USAID representative.
Stressing further the issues affecting drug quality and circulation in the country, Hussein Hassan said the forum was a good opportunity to learn more about the options that were available and different experiences in other countries that address the issue of quality medicines.
By Edna Smalle
Friday November 11, 2016

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