THE Minister of Health, Mr Nyapane Kaya says the government will put in place systems to strengthen the regulation of the pharmaceutical sector to prevent unethical practices.
He was speaking during the World Pharmacist Day Commemoration held at Queen II hospital yesterday. This year’s theme is: ‘Pharmacy professionals at your service’.
Mr Kaya said that the Ministry of Health was aware that some drugs bought by the government for them to be supplied to patients in public hospitals were somehow corruptly finding their way into some private pharmacies.
“Once we know who are the perpetrators, we will not hesitate to take legal action. The drugs that are expected to serve people who access services in public clinics and hospitals should do just that and should not be diverted to private facilities where there will be priced beyond the reach of many people,” Mr Kaya said.
As the theme indicates, he said, the community deserves quality services from pharmacists and pharmacy technicians because their mandate involves working with vulnerable people who, out of trust, take whatever drugs they are told to take by pharmacists.
“It is therefore your duty to work diligently and responsibly,” he said.
Also speaking at the same event, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Lesotho, Getrude Mothibe said they are concerned by the high rate at which new pharmacies were being opened around the country.
She said while this should be applauded as services were coming closer to the communities, some of the pharmacies were being run by unqualified people.
“We are worried about some motives behind the opening of some of these pharmacists, which is to beat competitors at any cost or through unprofessional conduct. There are strong elements of unethical practice in some pharmacies because some people are not qualified to appreciate the consequences of their actions. Some are just after making profits without following the set ethics and guidelines of the profession,” Ms Mothibe said.
She said the commemoration aims to encourage and remind pharmacists to use their work to unite and provide professional services that showcase the critical role played by pharmacists in improving the quality of life in every corner of the country.
Ms Mothibe emphasized the need to improve the regulation of the sector through reviewing and strengthening the ability of the law to promote the advancement of the sector.
She encouraged people to make an effort to know their pharmacists to be certain that they are receiving services from qualified professionals.
“Basotho have a right to know who is selling them drugs to ensure that they do not endanger their lives.”