The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has arrested 70 people and closed down 94 pharmaceutical outlets in Central, Nairobi and Kajiado regions following a weeklong crackdown.
During the swoop that targeted illegal outlets in Kajiado, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, and Murang’a counties, the PPB inspectors working in conjunction with officers from the Kenya National Police Service and National Government Administrative Officers managed to arrest 54 people in Central region counties and 16 in Nairobi for flouting various provisions of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act.
According to the Central Region Regulatory Coordinator, Dr Tom Mwangi, the main aim of the operation was to inspect, report, investigate and prosecute violations related to health products and technologies.
The board was also targeting premises duly registered by the board but operated by unqualified personnel, for closure.
Dr Mwangi said that they had also intensified their surveillance on wholesalers to ensure that they cut the supply chain for the illegal premises.
“At least 70 people have been placed under arrest and registered for prosecution in various courts. Some of the charges include operating unlicensed premises, selling drugs in unregistered premises and, selling drugs in the absence of a registered pharmacist,” noted Dr Mwangi.
A total of 23 premises were closed in Muranga, 21 in Kiambu, 20 in Nyandarua and 17 in Kirinyaga counties. The board also closed 14 pharmacies in Nairobi and 12 in Nyeri County with Dr Mwangi adding that closure notices have already been placed on all premises that were found to be operating illegally.
“The board now seeks the support of the police service, members of public and NGAOs in ensuring that the premises so ordered closed are not reopened and informing the board of any irregularities they might come across in those outlets,” he said.
Dr Mwangi noted that the fight to eradicate illegal pharmacies and other malpractices in the industry was yielding fruit as the number of cases reported in the region were gradually reducing.
He attributed the decline to the frequent crackdowns and the collaborative approach taken by the PPB which has seen them engage the Kenya Police Service, NGAOs, the judiciary and members of the public in stemming the vice.
“Through the successive crackdowns and routine inspections, the number of illegal premises is gradually declining as more and more people are working to ensure they comply with the regulations. The arrests we made this time are less than the ones we made in the previous crackdown,” he stated.
The regional regulatory coordinator also called on the public to ensure that they buy medicines and other pharmaceutical products from registered outlets.
He said that the board had introduced a safety barcode that is embedded in the license which can allow them to verify if the premise is legally operating before making their purchase.