Pharmacists want chemists selling prescription drugs to minors punished

PSK President Louis Machogu. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK) has distanced itself from pharmacists that have allegedly been selling prescription drugs to minors and wants security agencies to take action against the unscrupulous businesses involved in the trade. 

Authorities were last week reported to have shut down over 20 pharmacies in Mombasa for the sale of Rohypnol, an anti-anxiety medication, to minors in Mombasa. 

The drug, according to a recent report by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada), is among the most abused prescription drugs in the country.

In its report, Nacada noted 12.2 per cent of the sampled population abused Rohypnol. 

In a statement PSK President Louis Machogu said: “These reports have highlighted a serious issue that demands immediate attention and action from all stakeholders involved.”

Illegal sale of medications

“Furthermore, we urge thorough investigation by authorities and appropriate action against those found to have engaged in the illegal sale of medications, particularly to minors.”

“It is imperative to clarify that the PSK categorically condemns any form of unethical behaviour within the pharmaceutical profession.”

While noting that trade in pharmaceuticals is highly regulated, he added that the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) plays a major role in ensuring that players comply with regulations. 

“We stand firm in our commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct and patient care… pharmacists in Kenya are bound by strict regulations and ethical guidelines that prohibit the sale of prescription medications without verification of prescription furthermore to unaccompanied minors,” said Dr Machogu. 

“It is important for the public to understand that pharmacists undergo rigorous training and are entrusted with the responsibility of dispensing medications safely and responsibly. Any deviation from these standards is not only unethical but also illegal.”

He added that the PPB has a portal where the public can verify the status of both pharmacies and pharmacists.   

“This transparency ensures accountability and promotes trust between pharmacists and the communities they serve,” he said. 

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