The Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) has seized fake and government-branded drugs in the ongoing crackdown on illegal drugstores in Nyanza region.
The agency impounded 24 cartoons of government drugs marked “KEMSA” “GOK” and “NOT FOR SALE” at two private premises in Kisumu.
The board has since Monday visited Kisumu, Nyamira, Kisii, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya counties.
Dr Dominic Kariuki, who has been overseeing the operation, said on Friday that Kisumu had 73 illegal pharmacies which have since been closed down and stock seized.
He said the culprits were arraigned in court where they pleaded not guilty to various charges.
The charges included running public stores contrary to the Penal Code and being in possession of poisons, contrary to Pharmacy and Poisons Act.
Others included running pharmaceutical businesses without being registered, and carrying out businesses in non registered premises, contrary to the Pharmacy and Poisons Act.
“All seized drugs were handed over to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board for safekeeping. The suspects were taken to court where they pleaded not guilty, the cases are ongoing,” said Dr Kariuki.
Also of concern to the board is absentee superintendents. Many licensed pharmacy outlets were left in the hands of unqualified persons thus putting the lives of Kenyans at risk.
The officer said professionals found to have engaged in the malpractice have been summoned to appear before PPB disciplinary committee.
The board said that those who fail to appear before it will have their licenses cancelled.
Dr Kariuki urged the public to safeguard their health by verifying the legality of pharmacies by sending the word SMS to 21031. The service is free of charge.
“Members of the public are advised to use health safety codes displayed in registered pharmacy outlets to verify legality of the premises,” said Dr Kariuki.
He added that the board had distributed minilabs to regional offices for random sampling and testing of medicine in the market to ensure they are safe.
He said PPB has trained health workers on how to identify poor quality medicine.
The agency has directed outlets with expired drugs to quarantine them and get in touch with regional inspectors for safe disposal.