58 people arrested, 124 premises closed in crackdown on illegal pharmacies


58 people arrested, 124 premises closed in crackdown on illegal pharmacies
File Image of medicine in a pharmacy. PHOTO / FILE

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) on Friday said 58 people have been arrested and 124 premises closed in a crackdown on illegal pharmacies in the Coastal region.

The crackdown was carried out from March 21, 2021 in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties targeting pharmacy outlets that had been identified during routine inspections to have flouted regulations.

The PPB inspectors also seized a total of 48 cartons of assorted medicines found in the illegal premises.

“The seized medicines will be analyzed and disposed as per PPB guidelines on disposal of pharmaceutical waste. The list of closed premises has been shared with county administration and Kenya police service for enforcement of closure,” read a statement signed by Dr. Dominic Kariuki, Deputy Director of the Board Inspectorate.

The 58 persons have since been arrested and charged with: possession of poisons while not being an authorized seller; carrying on the business of a pharmacist while not registered; carrying on the business of a pharmaceutical technologist in premises not registered; and operating the business of a pharmacist without the presence of a registered pharmacist in the premises.

Those who pleaded guilty were given fines of up to Ksh.40,000 or imprisonment of up to 5 months.

The Board has now however requested courts to enhance fines upto Ksh.1,000,000 for those found guilty in line with the fines in the amended Cap 244 to act as a deterrent.

“PPB inspectors have observed with concern a trend where licensed pharmacy outlets are left to be manned by unqualified persons. Such absentee superintendents have been summoned for disciplinary action as per Cap 244 of the laws of Kenya,” added Dr. Kariuki.

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