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At least 41 arrested for smuggling pharmaceuticals

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Two people have been arrested with consignments of health products and technologies worth Ksh.2 million following a joint crackdown by officials from the Pharmacy and Poisons Board (PPB) and the Kenya Police Service.

This comes after the PPB kicked off a crackdown targeting people operating drug stores without legal documents.

The properties were seized in a joint operation targeting illegal cross-border smuggling of pharmaceuticals.

In a news briefing, Dr.Dominic Karuiki, Deputy Director, Inspectorate and Enforcement issued a warning to cargo handlers on illegal transportation of pharmaceuticals across the borders.

“General cargo handlers such as passenger buses, trucks, vans or other automobile vessels are advised to avoid illegal transportation of pharmaceuticals across the borders,” he said.

Kariuki has further directed all carriers transporting medicine to ensure they have in possession documents of delivery showing the source and the recipient.

He added, those contravening the law risk facing prosecution.

“On interception the board inspectors shall assume the consignment is being trafficked by the transportation company and shall face prosecution.”

At least 39 people have been nabbed and their premises shut down in Nairobi.

On Monday, about  29 other people were arrested in the Pipeline area within Embakasi.

The inspections conducted in the Nairobi region commenced on September 4 and have seen 40 illegal pharmacies closed.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, PPB closed 152 illegal pharmaceutical outlets in the North Rift region in a multi-agency crackdown.

Earlier, the PPB Director, Inspectorate, Surveillance and Enforcement Jacinta Wasike said that the five-day operation targeted unregistered pharmaceutical outlets and unqualified pharmaceutical personnel.

In September this year, 80 people were arrested and charged in court and 137 cartons of assorted medicines seized leaving 84 illegal pharmacies shut in Kisumu, Nyamira, Kisii, Homa Bay, Migori and Siaya counties.

PPB  conducted the raid within the Ports of Entry with aim to enforce Good Distribution Practices  of Health Products and Technologies (HPTs) along Namanga, Loitoktok, Busia and Malaba borders

Those arrested in Nairobi have since been taken to Makadara Law Courts to take the plea and are expected to be charged with various offenses that include being in possession of part of poisons, contrary to section 26(1) of the pharmacy and poisons act, and carrying on the business of a pharmacist while not registered as a pharmacist contrary to section 19(1a) of the pharmacy and poisons act.

They are also faced with charges of carrying the business of a pharmacist on premises not registered contrary to section 23(1) of the pharmacy and poisons act.

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