Authority arrests 46 found operating illegal pharmacies and chemists in South Rift

Wednesday December 7 2016

A Pharmacy and Poison Board official leads away

A Pharmacy and Poison Board official leads away a man found to be operating a chemist illegally in Eastleigh, Nairobi during a past crackdown. The board is currently cracking down on illegal pharmacies and chemists in four South Rift counties of Nakuru, Narok, Kericho and Bomet. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By CAROLINE WAFULA
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The Pharmacy and Poisons Board on Tuesday arrested 46 people in four South Rift counties of Nakuru, Narok, Kericho and Bomet in a major crackdown on illegal pharmacies and chemists that began on Monday.

Culprits were found operating without the necessary licenses from the drug regulatory authority.

They were also found not to be qualified to sell drugs, according to the board.

The crackdown which ends on Friday targets people not registered by the board as pharmacists and pharmaceutical technologists.

Others were found operating outlets that are not registered by the board.

According to the board’s Senior Inspector of Drugs Julius Kaluai, those arrested will be arraigned in various courts.

They will face charges which include unlawful possession of Part One poisons and practicing the business of a pharmacist without the required licensing.

PART ONE POISONS

Part One poisons can only be sold in pharmacies in the presence and under the supervision of registered pharmacists.

On Monday, the board arrested 29 people within the region with 17 more being arrested on Tuesday.

Some of those arrested on the first day of the crackdown were arraigned in Bomet Law Courts where they denied the charges and were released on a cash bail of Sh100,000.

More than 500 people have been arrested around the country since the year began for operating illegal outlets thus putting the lives of many Kenyans at risk.

The crackdown follows a similar exercise carried out in Mombasa in November where about 78 cases were dealt with.

“We are here to reinforce our local teams on the crackdown on illegal pharmacies and chemists,” Mr Kaluai, who is also the head of the Nairobi region’s inspectorate department, told the Nation in Nakuru on Tuesday.

In Nakuru alone, 21 people have been arrested.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PHARMACISTS

For one to operate as a pharmacist, they are required to be registered by the board after undergoing training from an accredited institution.

They must also sit a Pharmacy and Poisons Board examination to be recognised.

Those in the pharmacist cadre must have a bachelor’s degree while technologists are required to be diploma holders.

The board has appealed to members of the public to cooperate with its teams on the ground, stating that the crackdown is meant to protect them from quacks who endanger their lives.

This follows reports that in some slums, members of the public attempted to shield those who were being arrested.

“We are only doing this for the purposes of the safety of the people we are serving. We are not doing it for ourselves.

“We want to ensure that they are served by the right people and they should understand that,” Mr Kaluai said.

He asked members of the public to assist in identifying culprits and bring them to the attention of the board.