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Guyana: Pharmacists warned after illegal sales

June 24, 2024

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Pharmacists that sell antibiotics without requiring prescriptions are being warned that their operations could be shut down, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, said on Sunday.

He also disclosed that a new law is coming to deal with the sale of counterfeit medication.

Addressing the Guyana Pharmacists Association 21st Annual Convention, Dr Anthony said his ministry had received reports about some pharmacists selling them antibiotics to patients without prescriptions.

“That is against the current laws that we have and, for those of you who have been violating the laws, I would urge you to rethink what you’re doing because as we move to put stricter supervision in place, if you don’t change this kind of behaviour, then we might have to close you down and use the full force of the law to do that,” he said.

Minister Anthony explained that indiscriminate use of antibiotics accelerates antimicrobial resistance – which has led to millions of deaths worldwide – and pointed out that over the past few years, Guyana has seen multiple cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis which forced the ministry to import other medicines.

According to the health minister, legislation is also on the cards to deal with the problem of counterfeit medication on the local market.

He said the government intends to take a firmer stance on this “falsification of medications”.

“Because we do have – and it’s a global problem – where medicines are being counterfeited, and so one of the challenges if you have counterfeit medication in the system, is it can create problems in management of patients,” said Dr Anthony.

The new law will also include a requirement that importers report adverse effects of drugs to the Ministry of Health.

Dr Anthony said that while his ministry has a system in place to monitor those adverse effects, the importers of these medications would have to do their own monitoring, as is done in other jurisdictions.

“After these things [medicines] would have been formally approved in different jurisdictions, we must continue to monitor to ensure that if there are side effects of adverse reactions that weren’t detected during the clinical trial phases that, by using it in the population, we might be able to some of these things,” the health minister said. “But that calls for a lot of vigilance.”

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