Papua New Guinea
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Provincial health authority warns against illegal sale of drugs

BY PAUL BUNGTABU

The East New Britain Provincial Health Authority has issued a public notice against the illegal selling of medicinal drugs in stores, streets, marketplaces and other prohibited areas.

ENBPHA chief executive officer Dr Ako Yap said that the notice is to inform the public that the sale of Prescription Only and Pharmacy Only medicines such as Amoxycillin Capsules 500mg, Paracetamol Tablets 500mg, Mala 1 tablets etc, in unlicensed shops and supermarkets, on the streets and roadside stalls, public market and tucker shops is a crime.

“The ENBPHA is strongly against the illegal sales of medicine on the streets and is extending the call by the Pharmacy Board of PNG regarding the matter,” Dr Yap said.

There has been a rise in the unlawful sale of pharmaceuticals by unauthorised dealers.

Dr Yap said that taking medicine obtained through such sources is a serious public health risk where accidental poisoning, adverse effects, unnoticed bacterial resistance and even death may occur.

An awareness team led by district health co-ordinators in each of the four districts in the province have been tasked to carry out the awareness and issue notices to the general public.

ENB provincial pharmaceutical inspector Leo Kume said environmental health officers in each district will implement the awareness exercise.

“Before it was Amoxycillin Capsules 500mg and Paracetamol Tablets 500mg, but now Mala 1 is being sold on the street alongside other medications, which is a big issue.”

He said that the objective of raising awareness is to prevent illegal medicinal drug sales and to discourage the public from purchasing from unauthorised sellers.

Anyone found to be selling illegal drugs in shops and on the streets is guilty of an offence. The fine is K5000 or 12 months in prison or both.

“We have a team of inspectors from the public health division, police and other partners who will be doing routine inspection to control such cases,” Mr Kume said.