The Interior Minister yesterday appealed to all provincial health departments to strictly manage the health sector in order to eliminate fake products, medicine and illegal health services.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng was speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building at the Battambang provincial referral hospital when he made the appeal.
“Fake medicine is a very concerning issue because it is so dangerous,” he said. “The government created a committee for cracking down on fake products and medicines, so I hope that health departments will continue to enforce the law.”
“I also hope health departments will keep training health officials, keep following up on the quality of medicines and products, and also appoint more expert officials to hospitals and health centres,” he added.
Mr Kheng said the general quality of the health sector had improved, but fake medicines were still a plight and affected the treatment of patients.
He said all provincial health departments and district health offices must work together to eliminate counterfeit medicines, including at private health clinics.
Mr Kheng noted that late last year, the government destroyed 80 tonnes of fake medicines and that another 60 tonnes was set for destruction soon.
“I also want to appeal to our citizens to pay attention and clearly check medicines that they buy at clinics,” he added. “I also want to call on all medicine sellers or clinic owners to sell their medicines to doctors or patients with prescriptions from hospitals.”
He added that authorities must also keep an eye on fake medicines being illegally imported into the country.
“It is illegal to import and sell fake products,” he said. “We must punish those doing it.”
If lab tests show that medicines are fake, those responsible for importing and distributing them could be imprisoned from five to 10 years.
Last week, the Interior Ministry’s anti-economic crime department destroyed more than 11 tonnes of mixed counterfeit goods and cosmetics, which had been seized in the past, at a garbage dump in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.
The destroyed goods included expired products, counterfeit products, products without a licence, cosmetics containing illegal chemical substances, counterfeit medicine, animal food and more.
Loeung Ratha, deputy director-general of Camcontrol, said about 52 tonnes of counterfeit goods were seized along the border with neighboring countries in 2017, and more than 26 tonnes were seized from markets in Cambodia.
“In just over two months of 2018, we have cracked down on more than four tonnes of counterfeit food products,” he said.