Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority (PMRA) has warned it will soon start publishing names of all Pharmacy personnel and licensed business premises against whom disciplinary action has been taken for gross professional misconduct including indulging in theft of medicines in public health facilities.
In a statement issued Wednesday PMRA Acting Director General Charles Chimenya said the Authority was concerned with the rise in theft and pilferage of medicines in public health facilities, allegedly involving pharmacy personnel which the Authority regulates, adding it was even more disheartening that such malpractices are happening at a critical time when public health facilities are grappling with shortages and stockouts of medicines and medical supplies.
“PMRA joins the Pharmaceutical Society of Malawi (PHASOM) and all Malawians of goodwill in condemning the vice in its strongest terms and echoes calls for speedy prosecution of the suspected culprits.
“In continuing with its effort to stop the malpractices, PMRA will from this year start publishing names of all Pharmacy personnel and all licensed business premises against whom disciplinary action has been taken for violating dictates of the Pharmacy profession and practice,” said the Acting Director General.
Section 28 of the PMRA Act mandates the Authority to effect disciplinary action against all licensed pharmacy personnel and those operating licensed pharmacy businesses when deemed to be in gross violation of the Act. Penalties include suspension from practice and removal of offenders’ names from the appropriate register.
Similarly, stealing medicines or medical supplies from a public health facility is an offence under the PMRA Act which upon conviction attracts a fine of K20 million and imprisonment for 20 years.
The Authority has since called on potential employers to always check with the Authority the status of any pharmacy personnel before hiring them. Further to this, employers are requested to report to the Authority any pharmacy personnel suspected to be involved in theft or pilferage of medicines and medical supplies whether at a public or private facility in order for the Authority to take appropriate disciplinary action.
Added Chimenya: “Theft of medicines in public health facilities deprives innocent Malawians of access to quality health services. It is for this reason that PMRA calls for concerted efforts in ending the vice.”