Pharmacists warned on selling Viagra to teens

October 18, 2009 12:00 am
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – The Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board, which is the drug regulatory authority in the country, has finally broken its silence over reports that teens are abusing sex boosting pills.

Capital News broke the story one week ago and now Dr Joseph Kano the Board’s legal officer says pharmacists who sell prescription drugs such as Viagra to persons without valid doctor’s notes risk having their licences revoked.

“We will take disciplinary action on such pharmacists. They might be de-registered, suspended from the register or have their practicing licence cancelled. The law requires that a fine of Sh20, 000, a one year jail term or both be meted to such persons,” he warned.

Dr Kano blamed the parents, government and the media for the sad affair stating they had failed to play their educational and guardian role.

“You will see a Viagra advertisement in every newspaper you open; how it elongates this ‘thing’ (penis), how it makes it so strong. Now when this information goes out there how then do you ensure children are not accessing it? The kind of information that is going out is not sufficiently censored. We must all play our roles effectively otherwise we won’t go very far in this fight,” he noted.

He further asked the media to refrain from placing such adverts explaining that Cap 244 of the Kenyan Constitution barred the media from advertising drugs that fell under the aphrodisiac category.

“We have asked the media to desist advertising these medicines because the law does not allow the advertising of anything that would advance sexuality. The quest for money has made us irresponsible and neglectful,” he held.

Dr Kano added that by society glorifying sex, teenagers were under growing pressure to engage in sex leading to the increase in the abuse of sexual enhancers.

“The films we watch tend to make it look like sex is okay even when it is underage. So when we have teenagers abusing erectile dysfunction drugs, we should only blame ourselves. We do not have time to ensure that our teens are not involved in things they shouldn’t (be involved in),” he noted.

He also said that the teenagers were only accessing such drugs from quacks.

“I do not believe that they access these medicines from regulated and qualified pharmacists. I believe that the illegal ones that open at night and operate at clandestine hours could be the culprits selling the drugs to teenagers,” explained Dr Kano.

He promised that the Pharmacy and Poisons Board had taken measures to deal such unscrupulous traders.

“We have employed more inspectors and we have decentralised the board from Nairobi to other regions so that we do not have to travel from here to other regions to inspect pharmacies. We are will also sensitize magistrates on crimes related to medicines,” he observed.

He also warned pharmacists from stocking unregulated herbal supplements noting cases where such drugs had caused pre-teen children to develop breasts and fully formed wombs.

“Some of these herbals are not pure. Some of them are adulterated with conventional medicine like the ones they say have libido enhancers. Some of them probably get Viagra from the black market and then add some green stuff and call it herbal,” he said.

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