As Drug Peddlers Enter Into a Fist-Fight with LMHRA Inspectors
To continue to ensure that Substandard and Falsified (SF) medicines do not enter the borders of Liberia, the Liberia Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA) Region 3 Office in Grand Cape Mount County, covering the Western Cluster Counties of Cape Mount, Bomi, and Gbarpolu, has confiscated a huge consignment of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg, from a Guinean driver at the Bo-Waterside border during an inspection on Wednesday, September 14th, 2022, bound for Monrovia, intended for sale in Liberia’s major cities and towns. This confiscation was based on an intelligence report received by the Authority.
Upon receiving such intelligence, employees of the LMHRA at the Bo-Waterside border post in Grand Cape Mount County, set up surveillance to ensure the truck was searched; and fortunately, a huge consignment of the narcotic medical products was discovered and confiscated by the team.
The driver of the vehicle was turned over to the relevant securities and is currently being investigated by the Joint Security Team at Bo-Waterside Border Point.
In related development, the team on September 9, 2022, raided a huge consignment of substandard and falsified medicines in the Jenne-Wonde market, in Grand Cape Mount County and the Sasstown Market in Bomi County; even though a serious scuffle erupted between drug peddlers and staff of LMHRA Region-3, preventing the team from confiscating the medicines.
It can be recalled that the LMHRA has warned these drug peddlers from selling medicines in buckets and open market tables, and to relocate their medicines into the store, but these warnings and awareness seem to have fallen on deaf ears. Even though some of these drug peddlers have left the table markets and migrated to opening medicines stores.
Falsified medicines are deliberately fraudulent drugs that pose a direct risk to patient health and undermine healthcare systems, causing many deaths. While the LMHRA has made efforts to stem the tide of counterfeit medicine sold on the markets, business owners continue to make strides to circumvent every measure the Authority has put into place. Some of the measures put into place by LMHRA include the opening of regional offices covering Grand Cape Mount, Bomi & Gbarpolu Counties in the Western Cluster; Bong, Lofa & Nimba covering Central Liberia, as well as a sub-office at the Roberts International Airport, with about 25 staff assigned.
Public education and awareness campaigns on the dangers of counterfeit drugs and on the risks of substituting legitimate medicines for cheaper fake drugs have been rolled out to alert authorities and the general public to the threats posed by counterfeit medicines. This activity is currently ongoing in various major markets and highly populated communities in Montserrado County. The Authority has also organized prevention campaigns in high schools in Monrovia and its environs to raise awareness about the proliferation of counterfeit medicines and buying medicines and other health products from street peddlers. Despite these initiatives, the counterfeit products are still being furtively sold at markets across Liberia. The issue of fake medicines in Liberia remains a public health crisis. The Authority will continue to engage National Government and its partners to increase its capacities to detect incidences of smuggling substandard and falsified drugs into the country. This includes increased manpower and logistics for the Authority across the borders through improved surveillance and technology