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Pharmacists resist new regulations - antibiotics no longer sold over the counter Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:00

On Tuesday of this week the Belize Community Pharmacists Association (BCPA) sent out an extensive press release in which it states that it had not been consulted by the Ministry of Health in the passing of a new statutory instrument which will affect its members. The Association says that under the new regulations they will be unable to import medication from first world countries. It states that drugs from the “US, UK, Germany and other first world countries are now being replaced with alternative pharmaceuticals from manufacturers in places such as Central America which may cost more and not work as well.” It goes on to state “that these changes are being made without proper consultation.” It further added that, “no effort was made to engage the association in the crafting of the regulations.”

Speaking to the Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin he explained that the ministry has held extensive consultations with various stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry years before the implementation of the regulations. He noted that those consultations began as far back as three years ago with the regulations actually having passed last November. They are just now taking effect, having given pharmacists and pharmaceutical importers an entire year to become compliant.

As to the association’s claim that no consultation took place with them Hon. Marin noted that the association had come into existence in May of this year, 6 months ago long after consultations were completed. The association claims it introduced itself to the Ministry of Health in July of this year the day when the regulations were signed to be implemented.

“We need to protect the public,” stated the minister adding that the new regulations were not only with stakeholders in the industry but with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization which are the standard keepers in the health industry. Hon. Marin said that there are concerns where the improper dispensing of medication has caused and  increase in anti-microbial resistance to some medicines and challenged the pharmacists to get their Good Manufacturing Practices certification from those who supply them. He says that fake and substandard medication often times come from the first world countries like the U.S. and U.K. He stated: “how can they say they cannot provide certification for medication? You have to have those. Marin noted that the pharmacists and importers need to know that the manufacturer is in good standing to produce the medicines. The certificate he says will clearly state what the content of the medication is and what the effects and side effects of the medicines are. “If medications have proper certificates they are good medications,” he said.

As for the operations of the drug inspectorate, the minister said that already they are in operations where pharmacists and importers have to show where medications they have actually come from. He said that already antibiotics and prescription medication have been removed from 50 supermarkets. There are also now strict adherence in the dispensing of prescription medication which can no longer be sold over the counter. There is now need for doctor’s prescriptions as well as all pharmacies must have a licensed pharmacist in order for it to conduct business.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 November 2017 15:28