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Drug Peddlers, Inspectors In Fist-Fight

by newsmanager


BO-WATERSIDE, CAPE MOUNT: In a bid 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 Liberia of Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, and Gbarpolu, has confiscated a huge consignment of Tramadol Hydrochloride 225mg, from a Guinean driver.

The confiscation of the Tramadol Hydrochloride was made at the Bo-Waterside during an inspection on September 14th, 2022.

The consignment which was bound for Monrovia was reportedly intended for sale in Liberia’s major cities and towns. This confiscation was based on an intelligence received by the Authority.

It has not been established as regards the financial quantity of the drugs but Liberian security forces have been arresting hard substances of drug including cocaine in recent times based on international tipoff.

Recently, state security forces, based on US tipoff, arrested huge consignment of cocaine, valued US$100 million, at the SONITT Frozen food storage facilities in Topo Village, Japan Freeway, near Monrovia.

The reports add that 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 products were discovered and confiscated by the team.

According to reports, 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, confiscated 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.

At the time, 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 the roaming drug peddlers from selling medicines in buckets in street corners, open market tables, among others, but the warnings seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

Even though some of the drug peddlers have left the table markets and migrated to opening medicines stores that are not regulated.

The reports added that 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 medicines sold on the markets, business owners continue to strive for appropriate corrective measures.

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 Liberia; 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 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 sold in various 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 officials across the borders through improved surveillance and technology.

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