In an effort to discourage citizens from purchasing fake, substandard and expired medicines and health products on the local market, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) has commenced a five-day awareness campaign aimed at discouraging citizens from purchasing fake, substandard and expired medicines and health products on the local market.
The campaign was launched on Thursday, June 25, 2020 beginning at the Duala Market on the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia. Speaking during the launch of the awareness, the Managing Director of the LMHRA, Keturah C. Smith, disclosed that the exercise was intended to help guarantee the health of Liberians and other foreign residents in the country.
The initiative, supported by Global Fund, benefitted densely populated communities including Red-light, West Point Water Side market, Old Road market, Barnersville, Somalia Drive, with Duala market being the starting point of the awareness.
She noted that citizens should desist from buying medicines from street peddlers, most of whom, did not acquire any knowledge on what they sell to citizens in the market places, communities and other areas.
She maintained that Liberians would be endangering their health if they continued to purchase “unaccounted” fake and expired medicines and health products being clandestinely brought into the country through land border points, and criminally sold on the Liberian market.
Pharmacist Smith pointed out that those selling fake and expired medicines in buckets are in the constant habit of exaggerating the positive effect of their products, and as such, consumers should not be carried away by their dubious acts.
The LMHRA boss urged citizens to always purchase their medicines from the pharmacies or drug stores instead of in the streets or on the sidewalks. According to her, the health condition of citizens would turn from bad to worse if fake and substandard medicines are purchased from the sidewalks and taken.
She disclosed that the latest campaign launched by the LMHRA is in no way intended to take Liberians out of business, but it is intended to ensure that citizens remain healthy to meaningfully contribute their quotas to Liberia’s rebuilding process by adhering to the necessary health regulation and avoid selling expired or fake medicines on the streets”.
“We need to help ourselves to push things forward. We have to be healthy to help our country and Government. Tell your family members not to buy medicines from plastic bags or from buckets”.
Making remarks and performing the official launch, the Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Nimba County Representative Joseph Somwarbi said Liberians should not allow people to play with their health by purchasing fake and expired drugs on the local market.
“People sell medicines in Liberia for two purposes; to make money and to make sure that medicines are available to our people but they don’t understand one thing. Medicines are like kitchen knives which our mothers and sister use to cook our foods and make us grow well; but they advise that we must not allow children to play with it due to the danger associated with the knives,” the Chairman of the House Committee on Health noted.
The Nimba County lawmaker added that most of these street peddlers selling medicines in buckets and black bags, do not know the effect of those health products they sell.
“Medications that are kept in heat or sunlight have lost their ability to cure any illness. Health products such as scorpion rub, triple action and kung-fu rub, among others, are secretly brought into the country from neighboring countries without being tested at the LMHRA’s laboratory.
He continued: “They put the medicines in bags, tie them up, and place them in a car or truck. Imagine the heat the drugs are being placed under; as a result, they lose their strength.”
Representative Somwarbi, however, pledged his commitment and support to help eradicate the sale of fake, expired and substandard medicines and health products on the Liberian market.
The five-day public awareness campaign carried on in several market areas was characterized by live drama performance from the Paul Flomo Comedy group, distribution of fliers, bumper sticker as well as live radio appearances and jingle productions for airing.