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City governor tackles illegal medication sales

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
The governor of Phnom Penh wants pharmacies reined in within the city. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Phnom Penh governor said he would crack down on pharmacies who do not follow the laws of the Health Ministry.

Governor Khuong Sreng vowed to ban practices such as the selling of medication without a license and the dissemination of illegal medications, and to search and destroy counterfeit, prohibited, low-quality or expired medications.

He made this statement as he attended a ceremony to give certificates to members of the Association of Cambodian Pharmacists.

“Phnom Penh’s municipal administration supports the opening of training courses that can benefit all pharmacists, but they must care for the health of the people, which is the only important matter,” he said.

The governor said that if stakeholders and investors in pharmacies would work in accordance with the Health Ministry, there would be no such issue. He said that if health professionals do not receive adequate training, sellers may only think of income instead of the health of the people.

“Medicine is a weapon that can both cure illnesses and harm the patient if used improperly.”

Ngy Mean Heng, the director of the Phnom Penh municipal health department, said illegal medication was virtually unavailable in Phnom Penh, as experts went to educate both people and pharmacists to enforce the laws.

In addition, restrictive measures were regularly implemented by relevant officials.

“These results are consistent because they include both the work of the police and the involvement of the people. It is our role as authorities to educate or restrict, but if people do not follow, then it is impossible to overcome such an issue,” Mr Mean Heng said.

Khlaing Sameth, director of the Health Ministry’s department of drugs and food, said officials of the ministry will cooperate with prosecutors to get a conviction when finding a place non-compliant with medication sell regulations.

Mr Sameth said that, according to research, there are no places selling illegal medications in Phnom Penh today.
“There are some places where medications are still sold without proper authorizations, but we fine these business owners,” he said.

He said that fines in the second half of 2017 totaled nearly $25,000 for the ministry, usually from crimes related to the dissemination or sale of medications banned by the ministry, which have been deleted from registration.

However, Mr Sameth did not specify the number of cases where businesses were fined by authorities. He only said he collaborated on many cases with prosecutors and the Interior Ministry.

Mr Sameth said the ministry would take even stricter measures in monitoring places selling illegal or counterfeit medications next year, and that the monitoring will not be limited to Phnom Penh but will be carried out throughout the country.

The Health Ministry is advising provincial departments to take measures to advise any businesses to implement the joint measures of the ministries of Health and of Economy and Finance.

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