The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has warned unscrupulous traders of uncertified herbal medicines to stop selling the products or risk facing the law.
The warning follows a recent surge in herbal medicines on the market with some traders advertising in locations and trading centres using mobile public address systems.
Speaking on Saturday in Lilongwe during a panel discussion commemorating World Competition Day, CFTC executive director James Kaphale said uncertified herbal products are a risk to unsuspecting consumers desperate for quick remedy to ailments.
“Let me warn unscrupulous traders out there who are duping unsuspecting consumers by selling them herbal medicine lying that they can cure ailments which in a way may not cure them at all. Right to health and consumers should be protected,” he said.
Kaphale said this year’s theme Competition Policy and Access to Healthcare was in line with the Covid-19 pandemic as a health hiccup, which is ravaging economies, making healthcare a top priority.
On her part, deputy director of trade in the Ministry of Trade Charity Musonzo said government has Trade Policy and Consumer Protection Policy, among other instruments, to protect consumers and promote the interests of traders.
She said while Covid-19 is affecting the economy, but on the positive side, it has helped traders, especially small and medium enterprises [SMEs] to be innovative by producing market-led products.
Said Musonzo: “We have seen horticultural business sprouting in response to Covid-19.
“SMEs have been producing ginger, carrots, lemons, face masks and sanitisers, which continue to be on high demand on the market.”
In his comments, Medical Aid Society of Malawi chief executive officer Sydney Chikoti said they were previously a monopoly, but now they are facing competition from other players who have joined the health insurance business.
He said competition is healthy in the economy as it helps to improve service delivery and ensures that prices are offered at the right rate.
Malawi Health Equity Network executive director George Jobe expressed worry that CFTC Act enforcement is not satisfactory; hence, calling for sanity on the market to protect consumers.
World Competition Day ensures that consumers worldwide realise the potential benefits from an effectively implemented competition regime.
The day is commemorated on December 5 every year since 1980.