Still Confronted With Expired Drugs! …FODAY Medicine Store, Itter Pharmacy Booked by LMHRA
In Liberia, many persons take for granted the importance of carefully checking the expiration date of drugs before buying despite the countless public awareness raised about fake and expired drugs on the Liberian market.
These simple but very necessary precautionary measures have been largely overlooked by majority of the populace as some are only concerned about purchasing the drug on a need basis.
As a result of the citizens’ don’t-care attitude, medicine stores and or pharmacies have infiltrated the market with various grades or shades of medicines while some have demonstrated a total lack of regard for standards in the dispense of drugs to users.
One facility that recently caught our attention is the “FODAY MEDICINE STORE” located along the Somalia Drive, a stone throw from the flour factory in Doe Community, Free Port.
An investigation conducted unearthed how the facility was recently raided by the Liberia Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Authority during which time several expired and fake drugs were discovered at the facility.
Our investigation established that the raid was initiated following a tipoff that the facility was not conducive to represent a medicine store or least to be called a drug store.
During the drug regulatory body’s visit at the facility, the group shockingly realized and later noticed several unorthodox things.
The group expressed shock over the filthiness of the surrounding where “FODAY MEDICINE STORE” is situated, and they further recognized that the owner of the drug store was wickedly storing medicines in a completely prohibited environment; meaning that the facility to be considered as a drug store did not meet the quality of standard for such purpose.
In fact, the facility was categorically condemned as drugs that did not have factory or manufacturers details as well as expired medicines were confiscated in huge quantity.
Our investigation established that the group later noticed that Foday was selling products like injectables, something he was never authorized to sell. Though Foday could not display copy of his certificate from the Pharmaceutical Board authorizing his operations in such space, it was easy to deduce that he had demonstrated a don’t care posture in managing the health of the people.
Under the national medicine and health product regulations, drug stores or medicine stores are not permitted to sell injectables or other health products, and or, dispense medical treatment at their facilities. Only duly accredited pharmacies have been authorized to sell injectables and health products.
When visited the facility to authenticate the report, our investigation established that the information about the messy surrounding, particularly where the medicine store is situated corroborated quite well.
Our investigation witnessed the influx of customers but shockingly observed that buyers did not demonstrate any interest in knowing whether the drugs were expired or not.
Interestingly, FODAY, the owner of the “FODAY MEDICINE STORE” told our investigation that he was a round town medicine seller, and later decided to open the drug store to get off the streets. He admitted that the medicine and health products regulatory authority did visit him but declined that they found injectables with him. However, Foday disclosed that instead of taking punitive action against him and the dreadfully looking facility, the medicine regulators only fined him US$134 as cost to dispose the expired drugs found at the facility.
Though the body established that Foday’s medicine store fell way below the benchmark, it took no further administrative action than just an ordinary fine. The expired drugs were left with Foday but the regulatory house insisted that the money be paid within a statutory period allotted to him.
Foday displayed the fine document, but said he had to sell first to raise such amount. In the main time, nobody cares whether Foday brought back on the shelf the expired drugs since those dangerous medicines were still in his possession.
What even shocked our investigation was the inner look of the facility. Inside the store was extremely hot and dirty with cobwebs and molds clearly visible covering the presumed white paint already faded. Foday had the audacity to continue selling medicine from that very facility with two other young men posing as aides.
When asked whether the other two young men did not realize the filth inside the facility, they provided a flimsy excuse, one that was also justified by Foday.
Foday later admitted that the facility did not represent the image of the products he sells but insisted that his refusal to upgrade the store was because of a consistent eviction threat by the property’s owner. However, our investigation witnessed the polling in of buyers for his medicines as nobody raised any qualm with the look of the facility or the filthiness of its surrounding.
Foday further iterated that he can only begin work on the facility after settling the US$134.00 fine imposed on him. Foday did not show any remorse that his action may have jeopardized the health of hundreds who had ignorantly walked away with reportedly expired medicines only because FODAY MEDICINE STORE is being regarded as one of the cheapest drug stores in that community.
Interestingly, one of the medicines boxes spotted on the shelf during our visitation had two different inscriptions. Out of curiosity, our investigation requested seeing the box of a particular pain relief pills and quickly realized that there were two expiration dates labelled on both the medicine script and the box.
The expiration date spotted on the medicine script was entirely different from the one spotted on the box. Though Foday and his boys struggled to clarify, they quickly blamed everything on the manufacturer as their fault.
Like FODAY MEDICINE STORE, another renown pharmacy in Monrovia, Itter Pharmacy, located at the corner of Benson & Center Streets, was raided on August 16, 2022 by the Liberia Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Authority. During the raid, a very trusted source disclosed that several expired drugs were spotted on the pharmacy’s shelf and later confiscated. Some of the drugs, according to our reliable source did not have importer’s details as well as manufacturers information.
The source informed our investigation that ITTER Pharmacy was only issued a fine for the Government’s Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Body to dispose of the expired drugs.
Concerning the alleged August 16 raid, a top Government official who spoke on anonymity told our investigation that ever since he had stopped buying medicine from ITTER PHARMACY. According to him, few years ago the pharmacy sold expired drug to him when he had gone to purchase medicine for his sick daughter.
When our investigation contacted the ITTER Pharmacy’s management to verify the reports, the entity declined commenting. The Pharmacy’s General Manager only identified as Nabil, refused to pick up our calls. The pharmacy’s Indian boss failed to respond to text message sent to his (0770764329) contact number on November 8, 2022 while all efforts to get the pharmacy’s side did not materialize as we were reliably told that the ITTER’s boss is very arrogant and doesn’t respond to phone calls or text messages like that.