LMHRA Burns Several Confiscated Expired, Counterfeit, Substandard Pharmaceuticals Products

-In the presence of Independent Media Practitioners and Journalists at its site in Careysburg, Montserrado County.

IG Pharmacist Beyslow speaks to the media at the incineration site, While LMHRA staff ensures the burning of these substandard, counterfeit medicines

The believed that medicines confiscated (seized) from street peddlers by the (LMHRA), are recycled and redistributed on the market has been once again dispelled. The dispelling of said rumor was clarified on Friday, September 24, 2021 by the Director for Inspection and Post Market Surveillance, Pharmacist. Teedoh Beyslow Sr., The clarification was done in the presence of several independent media houses representations and the state broadcaster (ELBC radio).It all happened, when the LMHRA team took them on a guided-tour of the authority’s incineration (Burning) site, located in Careysburg, Montserrado County.

During a guided-tour at the incineration site, The Inspector general of the Department of Post Market Surveillance, Pharmacist. Teedoh Beyslow drilled journalists and the various press corps with regards to the various processes leading to confiscations, collections of expired, counterfeit, substandard medicines and health materials waste and disposals.

 He recounted that the LMHRA in its effort to protect the market of these counterfeit medications will also deployed inspectors in the field with a mandate to arrest anyone caught selling medications in buckets, market tables, back bags or black plastics or in any substance that poses threats to the efficiency of medications on the market.

According to him, the LMHRA is notified through Post Market Surveillance (PMS) activities or informed by importers, pharmacies, health centers or the Ministry of Health, the Inspectorate Department will definitely move in, collect weigh and funded or paid for these unwanted medicines and health wastes, quantify them along with the confiscated medicines and then incinerates them at its current site in Careysburg, outside Monrovia.

“When we seized these fake, substandard and expired medications, or when contacted by various pharmacies, importers and health centers or the Ministry of Health, we collect these unwanted products for incineration; by law, we are mandated to collect and burned all expired, counterfeit and substandard medicines, health products as well as health wastes,” Pharmacist Beyslow assured the media.

He further continued to say that: “one of the main objectives of the LMHRA is to ensure Liberia gets free from street peddling, because not everyone has the right to sell medicines. If the right medicine should be sold, it must maintained the right temperature to keep it safe in and potent to the consumer; for this reason, a need to clean off the market of these unwanted, counterfeit, falsified, dumbed medicines and health wastes to safe our people.”

“So today we brought you distinguished members of the press here to see and have the public informed with regards to how we carry on incineration of confiscated, reported or turned over unlawful medicines and health products through different processes of disposal,” he explained.

Inspector General Beyslow reiterated further that though the LMHRA has been hugely challenged with low budgetary allocations and logistical needs to beefed up efforts, Thanks to Managing Director Keturah C. Smith, for her enabling leadership that has made it possible to innovatively and farsightedly extended key partnerships with Global Fund, World Bank, Central Government and others with the needy logistics to enable us carry on our duty.

He further named the opening of regional offices around the country, under the supervision of the Managing Director as some of the strides being made by the authority to curb the importation of fake, substandard and falsified medicines in the country.

Inspector General Beyslow named the establishment of regional offices of the LMHRA, currently in Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and the RIA; as means of ensuring the protection against harmful medicines from getting to the Liberian market.

In furtherance to clarities made by the LMHRA, the Manager for Pharmaceutical Wastes Management, Dr. Jonathan Luciny, also informed the media that the pharmaceutical waste unit, of the authority, has had several incinerations carried out as per the law establishing the LMHRA.To date, over 100 tons of waste products have been burnt in the past two years.

According to him, the LMHRA places premier on the safety of those disposing these health wastes as well as the environment which is being disposed, because the expired, counterfeit and substandard medicines may have negative effects to both the people disposing as well as the environment.

Hence, Dr. Luciny pointed out that as Manager for Pharmaceutical Wastes, he ensures that those disposing these wastes are provided training and also fully protected with the requisite gears and equipment to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

He said that, plans are on the way by the LMHRA to extend the collection of pharmaceutical wastes across Liberia.

 This event which commenced in early August, 2021 was conducted by the Program Unit and Inspectorate Department of the authority. The process which is intended to last for 30 days; is a mop-up exercise and  process of incinerating the confiscated pharmaceuticals and other waste disposals.

 To prevent harmful medicines from flooding the Liberian market, it is part of its regular activity; LMHRA to conduct inspection through its Inspectorate Department, and carryout post market surveillance conducted unannounced at all pharmacies and warehouses responsible to disburse, sell, or stored all medicinal and health products in Liberia.

In addition to executing its mandate, the authority through its inspectorate department also ensure that these poisonous or expired medications don’t land in the hands of street peddlers, thereby causing serious health hazard for the buyers and end users as well as exposing people at risk of coming into contact of its use.

 According to the Inspectorate department, the current incineration is the third time this year for the authority to confiscate substandard, falsified and expired medicines and health products from the dealers who don’t see the danger of these products on the market and further emphasized that the authority   will continue to reach out to the most vulnerable and threaten parts of Liberia, in a bid to   eradicate harmful pharmaceuticals products from the market.

The LMHRA, since 2010 has the mandate through a legislative Act, to regulate all medicines and health products within the pharmaceutical sector of Liberia. With said statutory responsibility from the Government of Liberia and in consonance with the Ministry of Health and other partners; recent effort is in line to meet the challenging environment demand of executing said mandate. Evident by a third wave of incineration (burning) of confiscated pharmaceuticals and other health wastes products seized and collected from across major centers in Liberia as executing the mandate of the Act.

 It is considered that a huge proliferation and sales of expired, falsified and substandard medicines and health products have encumbered the Liberian market in estimated over three hundred thousand United States dollars (US$300,000.00) Therefore, LMHRA will continue to ensure the regular inspections of pharmacies, pharmaceutical warehouses and health centers across the country on a periodic basis through surveillance.