Papua New Guinea
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Crackdown on sale of medical drugs on the streets

Awareness on the illegal sale of drugs on the streets concluded last Saturday.

The awareness program was initiated by the East New Britain Provincial Health Authority in response to the increase in illegal sale of medicines by unauthorised sellers in the province.

Provincial pharmaceutical inspector Leo Kume said the program ran simultaneously in all the four districts of the province, and was led by district health coordinators, supported by environmental health officers in the districts.

“A review will be conducted this week where each district will present their report according to the awareness they carried out,” Mr Kume said.

He said the awareness program includes inspection exercise to shops as well as in the hotspot areas where there is an increase in the illegal sale of drugs.

Two street vendors were charged in Kokopo and another two were also apprehended in Rabaul.

An offender at the Kerevat town escaped when he was about to be interrogated.

“We have received surveillance reports of how medical drugs are ending up on the streets.

There’s a possibility of a warehouse supplying the prescription only and pharmacy only medicines like Amoxicillin capsules and Paracetamol tablets to street vendors, “The team are doing all they can to track the source of the illegal sales that is in operation in our towns in the province,” he said.

Unlicensed shops that came under inspection and selling baby formula S26 and Lactogen, Vapor Vicks, Dettol, hand sanitisers and were ordered to inquire for licenses from the National Department of Health.

Mr Kume said there are only certain pharmacies that import and have retail licenses to sell medical drugs in town.

“The exercise proved to be beneficial as we are now trying to ban drugs being sold on streets,” he said.

As a result of the continuing awareness campaign, numerous street vendors ceased operations as of last week.