The Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board yesterday closed 35 drug stores in Lilongwe for operating without following set standards.
The board’s acting registrar, Mphatso Kawaye, said in an interview that as one way of curbing theft of drugs in public hospitals, the board raided several drug stores and premises selling drugs.
He said there were a number of people operating hospitals and drug stores, but with no medical background; hence, compromising the quality of health service delivery in the country.
Said Kawaye: “We have closed about 35 drug stores around Lilongwe City, and this is just a routine exercise.”
He said medicines and medical supplies are supposed to be managed and sold by suitably qualified personnel, not every Jim and Jack.
Kawaye said most of the drug stores closed failed to comply with the laws and regulations of the board. He added that most of them were also keeping medicines beyond their mandate and expiry dates.
He said owners of the closed shops will be called to a disciplinary hearing on a date to be communicated in due course.
However, some of the operators have faulted the board for using excessive force during the exercise.
Apparently, the board’s officers were accompanied by armed police officers during the exercise.
Dorothy Ngoma, National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives in Malawi president, who runs a medicine store in Lilongwe which is among those closed, said the board did not give them a chance to be heard.
She said: “I think it is not fair to treat professional people who are in the drug business the way the board is doing.” n