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Pharmacy board shuts down 102 unlicensed chemists in Nyanza

PPB’s Head of Good Distribution Practices and Ports of Entry, Dr Dominic Kariuki, Friday said the board managed to seize stocks and have owners of the illegal chemists arrested/FILE – KNA

KISUMU, Kenya, Dec 20 – The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has over the past five days closed 102 chemists in six counties in Nyanza region.

PPB’s Head of Good Distribution Practices and Ports of Entry, Dr Dominic Kariuki, Friday said the board managed to seize stocks and have owners of the illegal chemists arrested.

Kariuki said most of those arrested have been arraigned in various courts in the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Nyamira, Kisii and Migori.

He noted suspected government hospital drugs were found in a private chemist in Awasi town in Kisumu County.

Kariuki said an investigation is on to follow the trail of the drugs and nab those behind the racket.

Charges preferred against those who were arraigned in court included, possession of government stores, carrying out pharmacist business without license and carrying out pharmacist business in unregistered premises.

Kariuki said out of the 56 cases that have been taken to court so far, those who pleaded guilty were fined between Sh15,000 to Sh75,000.

All the seized drugs will be disposed safely by the board.

Addressing the press in Kisumu on Friday, Kariuki commended Kisii Law Courts for ensuring accused persons were given commensurate court bonds.

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“We request the courts to enhance the fines charged on those found guilty of malpractices,” he said.

He said the move will be a deterrent for those who engage in illegal activities as they are a danger to public health.

Kariuki announced that the details of all the non-compliant outlets have been shared with the regional police commander for enforcement of closure.

He further noted PPB inspectors have established the presence of unmarked chemists which is a key pointer to an illegal pharmaceutical outlet.

“I want to appeal to the public to report such nameless premises to the Board for immediate action,” he said.

Kariuki noted that the board is facing another challenge of licensed wholesalers of drugs who are supplying illegal chemists.

He said the information has been obtained from invoices seized during the inspection.

“The other challenge involves absentee superintendents where licensed pharmacies are left to be run by unqualified personnel,” he said, adding professionals found engaging in illegalities will face disciplinary actions.

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