Drug peddlers- 10 million Leones or go to jail …court orders!
Magistrate Court No. 1 has ordered drug peddlers under the National Drug Control Act 2008, section 7c to pay a fine of Le 10 million or be subjected to life imprisonment for the sale of medicines without appropriate licenses to the general public in Sierra Leone.
The two culprits, Mohamed Conteh and Sorie Samura who were caught by the Sierra Leone Police on the orders of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone yesterday appeared in court on one-count charge for the sale of drugs without being licensed to do so.
They were charged under the new Act and in consonance with the Pharmacy and Drugs Act 2001, both of which prohibit the sales and possession of drugs without authorization from the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone.
In a related development, the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation over the weekend shut down series of unlicensed pharmacies in the country, a move the deputy health minister believed will protect the public health of the citizenry.
Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone, Wiltshire CN Johnson said in an interview that “government through the Health Ministry is ready to set precedence, using the full power of the law against all those failing to abide by standards set in the protection of the health of the people of this country”.
He noted that those that will be charged to court will serve as deterrent to all those that may want to risk the health of the public.
Registrar Johnson revealed that in the coming weeks and months, the Board will make a nationwide raid on all unlicensed pharmaceutical outlets in the country, closing down all illegal outlets and where necessary charge defaulters to court for breach of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act, 2001.
Talking on the rationale behind the move to close down illegal pharmaceutical outlets, the Pharmacy Board Registrar said “those failing to register are in the very first instance doing so in breach of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act, 2001 which gives absolute mandate for such people to be arrested and charged to court for putting the health of the citizens of the country at risk.
He also noted that among other things such illegal activities by greedy business people rob the country of the needed revenue whilst they accrue untold wealth from their illegal ventures.
Johnson further noted that there is tendency for such pharmacies and drugs stores to engage in the sale of counterfeit and substandard drugs, detrimental to the health of the public.
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